Strawberries are my absolute favorite fruit. Unfortunately, you can’t get great fresh strawberries year round. Now that strawberries are in season, I made sure to pick some up at the grocery store so I could make a dessert highlighting them. I wasn’t sure what though, so I pulled a few books off the shelf, including Cook’s Country 2006 annual, and found these brown sugar berry shortcakes. I just loved the idea of using brown sugar to sweeten the berries, the shortcakes and the whipped cream. While these shortcakes may look difficult to make, the dough comes together rather quickly in the food processor. Some of the berries are crushed and sweetened to make a sauce for the berries and then you make sweetened whipped cream. A few steps maybe, but all of them actually quick and easy.
I honestly don’t think I have ever had real strawberry shortcake. Before today, strawberry shortcake to me was one of those little sponge cake cups that come in plastic wrap sold by produce, topped with strawberries and Cool Whip. When I asked my daughter, Sammie, if she liked strawberry shortcake, she told me, “Yes, I love HER!” So, I guess we were both a little confused. But, at least, I have been corrected. I will not make that mistake again. These are strawberry shortcakes. Period.
Brown Sugar Berry Shortcakes
Yield: 6 servings
6 cups of mixed berries (strawberries- hulled, halved and sliced, Raspberries- whole, Blackberries- halved, Blueberries- whole, currants- whole) I used just strawberries
4-6 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder Due to the large amount, I recommend using aluminum free for better taste.
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter melted (to brush shortcakes)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Brown-Sugar Cream Topping
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
For the fruit:
Crush 6 cups berries and brown sugar in a large bowl with a potato masher. Fold in the remaining 4 cups of berries and let sit at room temperature until sugar has dissolved and berries are juicy, about 30 minutes.
For the shortcakes:
Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat oven to 375F. Line rimmed sheet with parchment paper. Pulse flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until no lumps of sugar remain. Scatter chilled butter pieces over the top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 7 pulses. Transfer to a large bowl.
Whisk egg and sour cream together in a small bowl. Stir into flour mixture with a rubber spatula until large clumps form. Using your hands, knead lightly until dough comes together and no dry flecks of flour remain. Be careful to not overwork to keep your shortcakes tender.
Using a large (#10) ice cream scoop, scoop 6 dough rounds onto the prepared sheet. If you don’t have a ice cream scoop, do your best to divide into 6 even pieces and use your hands to gently form into semispherical shapes. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. I would start checking at about 20 minutes. Cool the shortcakes on baking sheet x 10 minutes. (Cooled shortcakes can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept on the counter for up to 24 hours.
For the topping:
With an electric mixer, beat heavy cream, sour cream, and brown sugar to stiff peaks. Split each shortcake in half, using a serrated knife, and place the bottoms onto individual plates. Spoon some fruit onto the bottoms of each shortcake, top with the whipped cream, and cap with the shortcake tops. Serve.
Source: Cook’s Country June/July 2006