Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Individual Strawberry Shortcakes

I'm not sure there's a dessert that epitomizes spring quite like strawberry shortcake does. It's the perfect spring treat. Sweet strawberries are in season and they pair ever so nicely with fluffy whipped cream. Sandwich it all between a soft and flaky scone and you have yourself one satisfying dessert.

Individual Strawberry Shortcakes:

For the Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon Scones:
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick butter, cold
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk, cold
1/4 cup half and half, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

For the topping:
1 tsp vanilla 
2 tbsp milk 
2 tsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and incorporate it into the dry ingredients.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, half and half, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean.
Pour wet ingredients slowly into the dry ingredients incorporating with a wooden spoon or your hands, slowly moistening the flour. Continue to gently work the flour and milk mixture in the bowl until it comes together. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and gently and briefly knead (or fold) it to finish incorporating the ingredients.

Using your hands shape the dough into a 10'' - 12'' circle (dough should be about 1'' high). Use a rolling pin to even the surface and spread the dough out a little. Using a 4'' biscuit or cookie cutter cut round scones and place them on a parchment lined, or greased sheet pan. Re-roll scraps, being careful to not over work the dough and continue cutting until all the dough has been used. Brush scones with the milk and vanilla mixture then sprinkle with the 2 tsp sugar.
Place the pan of scones in the freezer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Remove the scones from the freezer and put them right in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown.
When the scones are done, remove them to a wire rack to cool.

For the Macerated Strawberries:
7 cups strawberries, sliced
2 tbsp sugar
1 lemon, juiced
Zest from 1 lemon

In a large bowl combine strawberries, sugar lemon juice and zest. Gently mix until berries are coated in sugar. Allow mixture to sit in the refrigerator for about an hour, or until the berries have begun to release their juices. (Can be made 4 hours ahead and left to sit in the refrigerator).

For the Sweetened Whipped Cream:
1 pint whipping cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a bowl whip cream until it begins to become thick, add sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until soft peaks form. Taste and add more sugar and vanilla as needed.

To Serve:
Using a serrated knife slice the scones in half, so that it's like a hamburger bun. On the bottom half scoop about a cup of strawberries with their juices and place onto the scone. Top with whipped cream and finish with top half of the scone. Serve immediately.

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