Summer is here, well officially at least, looking out of the window you wouldn’t know it! One of the few things we can definitely enjoy is the strawberries, the food for me that shouts summer! I cannot think of many other things that compare to the fragrant smell and succulent sweet taste of a strawberry. I have many happy memories visiting the ‘pick your own’ farms in Devon when I was little, sneaking the odd strawberry whilst no-one was looking.
As we are in the middle of Wimbledon this must be one of the most popular couple of weeks to indulge in your strawberry habit. Even if you don’t like tennis, there is no denying that classic strawberry and cream combination it just works, its simple, delicious and absolutely timeless!
A way to use that combo to make the perfect summertime dessert is Strawberry Shortcake, an American dessert that is simple to make and quick to eat. For a British palate its hardly a difficult or contentious idea, it’s very similar to a cream tea. In this recipe I am using a cross between an American style scone and a rock cake – sweet and tender, and just like scones these are best served as close to baking as possible and for me that makes this a great impromptu dessert, it takes minutes to make and will be on the table and ready to eat in well under an hour.
Strawberry Shortcakes – Makes 6-8
350g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
100g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
125g caster sugar
250ml whole milk
400g strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tbsp caster sugar
300ml double cream
Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the strawberries into a bowl and toss together with the sugar, set aside whilst you make the shortcakes. This gives a little extra sweetness and brings out the juices of the strawberries.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the dry goods until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the caster sugar, make a well in the bowl and pour in the milk. Gently mix together until combined, you should have a fairly sticky dough. Tip out onto a well floured worksurface and lightly turn in the flour making it easier to work with. Dip a pastry cutter into some flour and cut out rounds of dough, gently re-rolling the scraps. Place onto parchment lined baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.
Lightly whip the cream so it just holds it shape. To serve use a serrated knife to split the shortcakes, top with strawberries making sure each shortcake gets some of the juices that from the bottom of the bowl, top with whipped cream and serve.