Getting Ahead: Shortcakes should be eaten the day of baking and are best eaten fresh from the oven. Make the Chantilly cream not more than 2 hours ahead, and assemble the shortcakes just before serving.
ORDER OF WORK:
2 oz or 60 g Unsalted butter, more for baking sheet
8 oz or 250 g Plain flour
1tbspor 15 ml Baking powder
1/2tspor 2.5 ml Salt
1 ½ oz or 45 g Caster sugar
6 fl oz or 175 ml Double cream, more if needed
#For the strawberry coulis#
1lbor 500 g strawberries
3tbspor 40 ml icing sugar
2tbspor 30 ml kirsch (optional)
#For the Chantilly cream#
8 fl oz or 250 ml double cream
3tbspor 30-45 ml caster sugar
1tspor 5 ml vanilla essence
#Real strawberry shortcakes is made with a scone-like dough, like this rich version. A tangy strawberry coulis mingles well with the shortcakes and cream.# Prepare and Bake the Shortcakes: Heat the oven to 220°C (425°F, Gas 7). Butter the baking sheet.
Sift the flour into a large bowl with the baking powder, salt, and caster sugar and make a well in the centre. "Make well in dry ingredients with your fingers."
Cut the butter into pieces and add to the well.
Cut the butter into the flour mixture using the 2 knives. "Cut with knives in scissor fashion"
Rub the mixture with your fingertips, lifting and crumbling to aerate it, until it forms fine crumbs. "Lifting mixture while rubbing results in light pastry" "Cool fingers ensure dough will not be sticky"
Make a well in the centre, add the cream, and toss quickly with the palette knife to form crumbs. Add a little more cream if the mixture seems dry. TAKE CARE: Do not overmix or the shortcakes wilt be heavy.
Press all of the crumbs together with your handas to form a rough ball of dough.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly for a few seconds - the dough should remain quite rough. Pat the dough out to a round 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick.
"Flour your hands if necessary" "Light, firm pressure extends dough quickly"
Cut out rounds with the pastry cutter. Pat out the trimmings and cut additional rounds, for a total of 6 rounds. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. TIPS: Cut rounds as close, together as possible to obtain maximum number of rounds. "You will probably have some dough left over. If you don’t want to waste any dough, cut it into triangles rather than rounds, although this isn’t traditional."
Bake the shortcakes in the heated oven until very lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Transfer them to the wire rack to cool. #How To Make A Berry Coulis# A coulis is a sauce of thickish consistency. Some of the best coulis are made with fresh berries; frozen berries can be substituted but they lack the perfume and flavour of fresh ones.
Hull and pick over the berries, washing them only if they are dirty. Purée the berries in a food processor or blender.
Transfer to a bowl. Stir in icing sugar to taste and liqueur, if you like.
For raspberries, work the pureed fruit through a fine sieve to remove the pips. The finished coulis should be thick enough to coat the spoon. #Prepare the Strawberries and Chantilly Cream# Hull the strawberries and cut into slices, reserving 6 small whole berries with hulls for garnish. "Use small knife to hull and slice strawberries"
Sprinkle the sliced strawberries with the caster sugar and let stand to soften, 5-10 minutes. Make a berry coulis with the strawberries, icing sugar, and the kirsch, if you like.
Halve the reserved whole strawberries lengthwise, then slice just to the hull so that the halves remain intact Press each half flat into a fan with your thumb. Make the Chantilly cream, flavouring it with the vanilla essence #How To Make Chantilly Cream# Chantilly cream is whipped cream flavoured with sugar and vanilla, brandy, rum, or a liqueur such as Grand Marnier. Double cream (with minimum 48% fat) is best for Chantilly cream, and it should be thoroughly chilled. Chantilly cream can be kept covered and refrigerated up to 2 hours. Whip the cream briefly to re-combine if it separates. TIP: “If the cream is to be piped, take care not to overwhip it because the cream will be worked further when it is forced through the piping bag.”
Pour cream into a chilled bowl. Set over iced water if kitchen is hot.
Whip the cream with a whisk or electric mixer until it forms soft peaks.
Add sugar and flavouring and whip until the cream forms soft peaks again and just holds its shape.
Continue whipping until the cream forms stiff peaks and the whisk leaves clear marks. Do not overwhip or it will separate. "Whisk will leave clear marks in cream" #Assemble the Shortcakes# Cut each of the cooled shortcakes in half horizontally with the serrated knife. TAKE CARE: The shortcakes are quite crumbly.
Spoon the sliced strawberries with a little of their liquid onto the bottom halves of the shortcakes. Pile the Chantilly cream on the strawberries and top each one with its lid.
Top each shortcake with 2 of the strawberry fans.
Spoon the strawberry coulis on each plate and set a shortcake in the centre. "Place strawberry shortcake on coulis just before serving" #TO SERVE# Strawberry fans make pretty garnish for top of shortcake. "Strawberry coulis, here flavoured with kirsch, beautifully complements shortcake"