Strawberries! The farmers are waving pickers in by the droves as these red rubies grow juicy under the sun. Strawberries are a great way to celebrate spring, and this twist on the traditional strawberry shortcake is a wonderfully herbal surprise for your spring entertaining.
I changed Martha’s recipe a bit, adding more of the basil cream to the dough in the shortcake – GREAT idea. The cake is very buttery and flaky and delicious. I had never made it in one big cake before and it was very pretty! Quite the WOW factor when you serve. If you love basil and love strawberries, you obviously will love this dessert.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living…
- 2 1/4 cups cold heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons, for brushing
- 20 large basil leaves, plus 1/3 cup small or torn basil leaves
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more if needed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups sliced strawberries (1 pound 4 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- Bring cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bruise large basil leaves by hitting repeatedly with the dull side of a knife, and stir into cream. Remove from heat, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let steep for 25 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing solids to extract liquid. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 5 hours (I did mine a couple days ahead).
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, the baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers. (The largest pieces should be the size of small peas.)
- Whisk together 3/4 cup of the basil cream, the eggs, and vanilla. Stir into flour using a fork until ingredients are moistened but not fully incorporated. (Do not overmix.)
- Turn dough out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pat into a 9 1/2-inch circle. Brush dough with 2 tablespoons cream, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
- Bake until light golden brown and just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely (or not, I was hungry!)
- Meanwhile, macerate strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, plus more if needed, depending on sweetness, stirring occasionally.
- Toss berries with small basil leaves. Whisk basil cream with confectioners’ sugar in the chilled bowl of a mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.
- Mound basil cream on shortcake. Spoon berries with juice over top.