Dish of the Week: Strawberry Shortcake (Perfect for Your Summer Cookout)

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re looking at a dessert perfect for the 4th of July: Strawberry Shortcake.

A shortcake is a sweet, biscuit-like bread or cake made with baking powder or soda, shortening or butter, salt, flour, sugar, and milk or cream (sometimes eggs are also incorporated). With a large amount of fat added in, the texture of a shortened dough is more crumbly than other softer, fluffier cakes. That’s because the cubes of fat gets coated in flour, inhibiting gluten strands from forming and stretching within the dough.

The most famous shortcake dessert is the strawberry shortcake. To make it, strawberries are macerated in sugar until the juices are flowing; then the mixture gets layered into split shortcakes and dolloped with freshmade whipped cream. Earlier American versions of the recipe (as early as 1847) called for broken pieces of pie crust, but we think the sweet and tart berries are best piled onto the crumbly biscuit cakes.

The fresh, seasonal treat makes an ideal dessert for a summer cookout. This recipe, from Southern Livingincorporates sour cream into the short dough, making the drop biscuits both moist and crumbly.

Strawberry Shortcake 

Ingredients serves 8
2 (16-oz.) containers fresh strawberries, sliced or quartered
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup cold butter, cut up
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs


Prepare the strawberries: Combine strawberries, 1/2 cup sugar*, and, if desired, almond extract. Cover berry mixture, and let stand 2 hours.
*If the strawberries are very sweet, decrease the amount of sugar to your taste.

Prepare the whipped cream: Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add 2 Tbsp. sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Cover and chill up to 2 hours.

Combine flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl; cut cold butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.

Whisk together eggs, sour cream, and vanilla until blended; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Drop dough by lightly greased 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet. (Coat cup with vegetable cooking spray after each drop.)
Bake at 450° for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.

Split shortcakes in half horizontally. Spoon about 1/2 cup berry mixture onto each shortcake bottom; top each with a spoonful of chilled whipped cream; and cover with tops.

Serve with remaining whipped cream and garnish with mint.

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Brooke Viggiano is a contributing writer who is always looking to share Houston's coolest and tastiest happenings with the Houston Press readers.
Contact: Brooke Viggiano