900 g strawberries (fresh, hulled and thinly sliced stem to point)
6 tbsp sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
110 g unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream(or, for extra delicious, try ½ cup heavy cream whisked into ½ cup creme fraiche)
4 cups whipped cream(recipe follows)
Rest: Toss together sliced berries and 4 tablespoons sugar. Mash a few of the berries with a fork to release juices. Cover and let rest at room temperature.
Whisk: In a large bowl, whisk flour, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt.
Cut-in: Use a pastry blender or quick fingers to work in butter until lumps range from crumbs to small peas.
Toss: Drizzle in all but 1 tablespoon cream. Toss with a fork until dough clumps.
Cut:Turn out clumps onto a work surface. Knead a few seconds to get the dough to hold together. Pat into a 2cm-thick square, about 20cm across. Use a heavy knife to cut into eight 10cm by 5cm rectangles.
Bake: Set biscuits on a baking sheet, allowing them some elbow room. Brush tops with the remaining cream. Slide into a 210°C oven and bake until golden brown, about 17 minutes. Don’t fret over their looks; shortcake is no beauty pageant.
Serve: Use a fork to poke biscuits along their perimeters and open, English-muffin style, while still warm. Spoon strawberries and their juices onto bottom halves. Crown with biscuit tops. Lavish with whipped cream. Enjoy.
Measure 2 cups heavy cream, ¼ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract into the mixer. Whisk to fluffy peaks. Makes about 4 cups. – Chicago Tribune/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services