Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake

{With No-Fail Buttermilk Biscuits}

Strawberry shortcake, unlike healthcare reform or off-shore drilling, is generally something both Democrats and Republicans can agree on. Which may be why my family firmly believes that when it comes to summer desserts, nothing rivals the gustatory treble of garden strawberries, chilled whipped cream, and perfect buttermilk biscuits. Achieving a moist, crumbly, tangy biscuit is the pièce de résistance, and made refreshingly easy with this one-bowl recipe. P. and I served these for dessert at our wedding on the farm; they're terribly old-fashioned and foot-stompingly delicious.

Balsamic Strawberries and Whipped Cream
If you're a traditionalist when it comes to strawberries, good for you. If you're up for something a little unusual, try this. Just trust me: Hull and quarter three baskets of strawberries and place in a big bowl; add two tablespoons of good balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon and a half of sugar, and a few cracks of black pepper. Let sit at room temperature while you make the biscuits, stirring occasionally. While biscuits bake, whip two cups of cold heavy whipping cream in an electric mixer. Add half a tablespoon of sugar (or to taste), a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of bourbon until stiff peaks form.

No-Fail Buttermilk Biscuits with Lemon Zest
Based on the recipe for drop-biscuits made at the old Elkhorn Ranch outside Big Sky, Montana. The proportions are perfect; you can't mess these up.
Makes six magnificent biscuits.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
zest of one lemon
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 tablespoon cream + a few pinches of sugar for brushing

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl mix dry ingredients, then blend butter into mix with fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Fold buttermilk into mix with spatula just until moist dough forms. Don't overmix!

Using a spoon, gather and drop dough onto parchment paper/ baking sheet to form six good sized biscuits. Brush each biscuit gently with cream and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake until pale golden and slightly darker on the nubs, 12 to 15 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool to the touch, slice horizontally with a serrated knife, and serve with heaps of strawberries and whipped cream. Enjoy!


  1. that looks amazing, and this comes at the right time, because i am still daydreaming about strawberry shortcake. my husband's (that still sounds weird) parents came over sunday, and his mom brought her much-loved strawberry shortcake. after grilling kabobs and sweet potatoes, we sat down with bowls of strawberry shortcake, which i never had growing up. i watched them each put a dollop of whipped cream on top and pour some milk in the bowl, and i did the same. can i just tell you i was in HEAVEN? and now you're over here talking about buttermilk biscuits. happiness.

  2. Wishes do come true because after reading your gorgeous wedding tale, I couldn't stop thinking and hoping for THE bigBANG strawberry shortcake recipe! Merci ~

  3. "gustatory treble" Fantastic.

  4. this look amazing!!!!!! perfect for the warm summer days : )

  5. Aagh, this looks so good! I love strawberry with balsamic. And it's true, stawberry is the bipartisan fruit. :)

  6. Full disclosure: I made them on Monday night. I had one for dessert. Ok, two. And one for breakfast the next morning, when these pictures were taken. And one again last night while watching The West Wing and working on my Indian visa with the huz. That's FOUR, count 'em, FOUR buttermilk biscuits and like two pounds of strawberries in 24 hours. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

  7. UM PRETTY MUCH this is the best recipe I have ever seen!!! When we finally meet I am making it a must that we have this .... and we can wash it down with iced coffees. YUM oh YUM oh YUM!!! Great photo L!!! XO

  8. never been a fan of shortcake but if you promise that they are very moist and since you put lemon zest in that whipped creammmmm.........and seeing as you've eaten - did you say - FOUR????? in 24 hours?

    i might be persuaded.

  9. Hi, I've just discovered your blog via for me for you.
    I love it! congrats for your work :)

  10. i so badly want to eat this right now!!

  11. ohmygosh! That looks like the yummiest thing ever!

  12. my biscuits are in the oven!! nothing could ever ever be better than fresh Oregon strawberries & homebaked goodness. Thank you oodles for the suggestions & your lovely blog!!

  13. hello. i'm a barista/college student/amateur photographer/art student/lover/fighter/narwhal loving girl who stumbled upon your blog this evening. i've left you a few random and decidedly not eloquent comments and i thought i'd just leave you a little note to say HOLY CRAP YOU'RE SO AMAZING.

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    anyway, thank you for being so awesome at life. keep the posts coming.

    much love, your newest reader

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