7.08.16

An Old-Fashioned Shortcake: Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes

This is the best strawberry shortcake you will ever have. It is a follow-up to my last post: Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pudding (6.24.16) because both recipes were inspired by the same book, authored by Chef Larry Forgione, whose New York restaurant, An American Place, was getting a lot of buzz in the mid-1990’s. That’s when we went there for lunch one day and I fell in love with his chocolate pudding. His cookbook has a lot of wonderful old-fashioned American desserts, but this recipe is the winner of all the biscuit-style shortcake recipes that I’ve ever tried, and believe me, there have been many. The source of the recipe, according to Chef Forgione, is James Beard’s mother, who owned a boarding house and was an excellent cook.

 

Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes

Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes

 

A Pitcher of Peonies

A Pitcher of Peonies

 

 

Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes

Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes

 

What makes this recipe so old-fashioned is the uncommon−but flavorful−technique of using hard-boiled egg yolks, pushed through a sieve, as an ingredient. Many very old recipes call for this technique, and after tasting one of these shortcakes you will see why: they not only taste great but the texture is tender and moist inside of a crisp and crunchy crust. They are the perfect companion to ripe, juicy strawberries.

 

How to make the Shortcake Dough, Finish, & Bake:

 

 

Biscuit-style Strawberry Shortcakes

Biscuit-style Strawberry Shortcakes

 

 

Assembled and Plated Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes:

 

Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes

Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes

 

Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes
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AUTHOR:
I think these are the best biscuit-style shortcakes you will ever have. I've tested many different recipes and this is the winner. What makes the recipe so special is the technique of using hard-boiled egg yolks, pushed through a fine mesh strainer, as an ingredient in the dough. This produces a tender and moist crumb inside a crisp and crunchy crust. These are the best with local strawberries in season, but they are also good with sliced peaches for Peaches and Cream Shortcakes. For the nicest shapes, allow time to chill the dough until firm, (about an hour), after rolling it to the 7½" x 10" (19 cm x 25.4 cm) rectangle in step 9, and before cutting the rounds. All of the shortcakes in this post were photographed using this method of chilling the dough before cutting. This relaxes the gluten and they hold their nice round shape better and don't spread as much when you do this.

YIELD: 16 SHORTCAKES - 2½" (6.5 cm) CUTTER - 75g (2½ oz) EACH

INGREDIENTS

  • SHORTCAKES:
  • 520 grams bleached all-purpose or pastry flour (4 cups)
  • 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 25 grams baking powder (1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons)
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (3g)

  • 170 grams unsalted cold butter, cut in ⅜" (10 mm) cubes (1½ sticks / ¾ cup)

  • 360 grams heavy cream (1½ cups)
  • 65 grams hard-boiled egg yolks, pressed through a sieve (4 large yolks - 80g uncooked)
  • - To cook the hard-boiled eggs, bring water to a boil, lift whole eggs into the boiling water, boil 10 minutes, drain and peel under cold running water. Remove yolks and let cool.
  • - Press cooked and cooled yolks through a sieve (fine mesh strainer), using a spoon.
  • - Option: If you want to keep the egg whites for another purpose, see directions below for cooking the yolks separately.

  • 1240 grams = Total 44 oz (2# 12 oz)

  • TOPPING:
  • 30 grams heavy cream (2 Tablespoons)
  • 40 grams coarse sparkling sugar (3 Tablespoons)

  • FILLING:
  • 3 quarts strawberries, washed, hulled, cut in quarters or halves, depending on size
  • 1 pint heavy cream (480g)
  • - whipped softly with the superfine sugar and vanilla and refrigerated
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar (50g)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • NOTE: I like to make this recipe, use what I need, and freeze the balance. The shortcakes freeze well, up to a month, if packed in an airtight plastic bag. If doing this, adjust the quantity of strawberries and whipped cream, as needed.
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 400° F (205° C).
  2. SET UP a half sheet pan and a quarter sheet pan, both lined with parchment paper. Double-pan both. Using 2 pans stacked together will prevent the bottoms of the shortcakes from getting too brown.
  3. SIFT the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and whisk to blend.
  4. SCATTER the cold butter cubes over the flour.
  5. RUB in the butter with your hands until you have a mealy texture with only small pieces of butter remaining.
  6. ADD the cream and sieved egg yolks and mix in with a large rubber spatula.
  7. PRESS the dough together in the bowl, then turn it out onto a floured counter.
  8. KNEAD by continuing to press the dough together, then into a rectangle. Fold in half. Rotate dough and press out again into a rectangle and then in half. Repeat 2 more times. Doing this will yield a very smooth dough.
  9. ROLL out the dough into a 7½" x 10" (19 cm x 25.4 cm) rectangle on floured parchment paper; the dough will be about 1" (2.5 cm) thick. Lift the paper with the dough onto a quarter sheet pan and chill in the refrigerator about an hour, or until firm, before cutting the rounds. The shortcakes hold their shape better in the oven when you follow this step of cutting the rounds when the dough is cold.
  10. CUT 12 rounds with a 2½" (6.5 cm) cutter and arrange on the doubled half sheet pans. Press scraps together and re-roll to 1" (2.5 cm) thick and cut out 3 more shortcakes. With the dough that is left, cut out one more shortcake for a total of 16. Place the last 4 on the doubled quarter sheet pans.
  11. BRUSH tops with heavy cream and sprinkle generously with sparkling sugar.
  12. BAKE at 400° F (205° C) for about 20 minutes until light golden brown. The internal temperature should be 209° F (98° C).
  13. COOL on pan.
  14. TO SERVE: Split in half with serrated bread knife. Place bottom halves on plates and top with fresh strawberries, quartered and tossed with a little superfine sugar (Or: I like to toss the berries in Strawberry Coulis, allowing some of the berries and coulis to drip down the sides and fall onto the plates.) Add a dollop of whipped cream and a few more strawberries and coulis. Top with the other half of the shortcakes. Enjoy!
  15. OPTION - EGG YOLKS COOKED SEPARATELY: 1) Crack eggs, being careful not to break the yolks. Separate, saving the egg whites in a separate container for another purpose. 2) Place each yolk into a separate ramekin and slide into a sauce pan of simmering water (3 cups / 720g) and 1 Tablespoon (15g) cider vinegar. 3) Poach for 5 minutes in the simmering water. 4) Lift out with a slotted spoon and let drain and cool on paper towels. Remove any cooked white that remains on the yolks. 5) Press through a fine mesh strainer.
Recipe Ancestry Notes:
An American Place by Larry Forgione (1996). Forgione got the recipe from his friend, James Beard, who said it was his mother's recipe.
Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes

Biscuit-Style Strawberry Shortcakes

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!

Shirl