Strawberry Shortcakes

Do you remember those little Strawberry Shortcake dolls? The little strawberry scented doll with a strawberry hat that resembled a shower cap. She had a Blueberry friend too whose name I couldn't remember. I never had one myself, for whatever reason, perhaps my parents thought they would corrupt me. But my friend did and I took any opportunity to play with her so that I could play with Strawberry shortcake and her blueberry friend whose exact name I can't remember.

Strawberry shortcakes

Anyway I digress, they don't have much to do with these little biscuit like cakes apart from sharing a name. These strawberry shortcakes are very good, almost like a semi-sweet, sugar crusted scone stuffed with cream and strawberries although they are difficult to eat elegantly but don't let that stop you.

Strawberry shortcakes

I made a half lot as there are only two of us as I think these are better eaten on the day that they are assembled which made 5 shortcakes . I even got to use my Nigella Cookies cutters which are unfortunately one of my least used Nigella items.

Strawberry Shortcakes from How to be a Domestic Goddes

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For the shortcakes

  • 325g plain flour (to which I added 1 teaspoon of baking powder as I wanted these to puff up slightly)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar

  • 125g unsalted butter, frozen

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 125ml single cream

  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten

  • 1 baking tray, greased or lined

  • 6.5 cms round cutter

For the filling

  • Approximately 300g strawberries

  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

  • few drops of balsamic vinegar (optional)

  • 250ml double cream or cream fraiche

Preheat the oven to 220c/Gas mark 7

Step 1 - Mix the flour, salt, baking power and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Grate the butter into these dry ingredients and use your fingertips to finish crumbling the butter into the flour. Whisk the egg into the cream, and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, suing a fork to mix. You may not need all of the eggy cream t make the dough come together so go cautiously (I only needed just over half of this so do add gradually).

Strawberry shortcakes

Step 2 - Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll gently to a thickness of about 2cm. Dip the cutter in flour and cut out-you should get 8 in all. Place the shortcakes about 2.5 cms apart on the baking sheet, brush the tops with egg white, and sprinkle them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. If it helps with the rest of your cooking, or life in genera, you can cover and refrigerate them now for up to 2 hours.

Strawberry shortcakes
After being baked, slightly puffed

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and let them cool for a short while on a wire rack. Meanwhile, crush half the strawberries with the spoonful of sugar and the few drops of balsamic vinegar f using, and halve or quarter the remaining strawberries, depending on their size. Whip the double cream, if using.

Strawberry shortcakes

The shortcakes should beaten while still warm, so split each one across the middle and cover with a spoonful of the crushed strawberry mixture, a few halved or quartered strawberries, then dollop some whipped cream or creme fraiche on top, and set the top back on (I didn't quite follow these instructions and I accidentally put the cream on the bottom, Nigella's way is probably better)

Makes 8

Variation: I love these American style with passionfruit in place of the strawberries, though if you're going along with this, don't use creme fraiche, you need velvety smooth, whipped double cream, unpasteurised if possible.

From How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

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