Monday, 2 July 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

With Wimbledon in full swing, I thought it would a good time to try out a recipe that showcases the two ingredients most closely associated with the tournament, strawberries and cream. Thousands of kilos of both are consumed over the course of the competition. This recipe doesn't use quite that many, but is still generously packed with sweet strawberries and rich double cream. The shortcake adds an important textural dimension to the dessert, as well as a buttery biscuitiness!

Prep time: 15 Minutes (Plus some chilling time)
Baking time: 13-15 Minutes
250g Plain Flour
1tbsp Baking Powder
50g Unsalted Butter
100g Caster Sugar (Plus a bit more to sprinkle on top)
1 Medium Egg Yolk
100ml Milk (ish)
300ml Double Cream
1tsp Vanilla Extract
400g Fresh Strawberries

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and rub in the butter. Tip in the sugar, egg yolk and 50ml of the milk, then start to mix with a wooden spoon. As it comes together drizzle in a little more of the milk until a smooth soft dough is formed (You may not need all of the milk). Get your hand in there to finish off working it then wrap in some cling film and place in the fridge to chill and firm up (About 45 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 and line two baking trays with baking paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide in half. Roll out half of the dough between two sheets of lightly floured baking paper, until about 20cm in diameter (You don't have to be precise) and lay in the centre of the tray. Repeat for the rest of the dough and place both in the centre of the oven for about 13-15 minutes, until golden brown on top. When you're happy they are done remove from the oven and set aside to cool on the trays.

In a large bowl whip the cream with the vanilla until thick and roughly chop the strawberries. Carefully remove the shortcakes from the baking paper, upturn one onto a serving plate, spoon over the cream and lightly press on the strawberries. Place the other shortcake on top, gently press down to secure in place and dust with caster sugar. Slice with a sharp knife to serve, then see if you can fit a whole piece into your mouth in one go!

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