Kitchen Cadets: Strawberry shortcake
This old-fashioned American classic, crumbly and creamy, is an easy baking hit. It's basically a sandwich of the world's best pairing, strawberries and cream, giving a grand twist to a simple thing. The hard-boiled yolks are a novel addition and give the dough a richer, more crumbly texture without adding water, as you would with a raw yolk.
- 1 2/3 cups self-raising flour
- ¼ cup golden castor sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 hard-boiled egg yolks
- 90 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
- 2/3 cup cold cream or buttermilk, plus extra for brushing
- Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
- 1 punnet strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 tbsp strawberry jam
- 1 cup whipping cream, beaten to soft peaks
Five-year-old Atticus (pictured) drives a hard bargain. "I'll lick the bowl if I can have one as a dessert before dinner." Embracing the "afternoon tea" concept, he happily measures cream and sugar, weighs flour and cuts cold butter. Cheeks appropriately dusted with flour, the pint-sized sous chef tests the dough with his pointed finger, nodding at the elasticity and noting the crumbly texture. A pinch of raw dough is popped into his mouth and he agrees it's ready for baking. After all, it needs to be cool and ready to eat before dinner.
Preheat oven to 180C. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks and butter in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
Add cream and pulse until the dough comes together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather together lightly. Knead a couple of times and then pat it into a rough circle, about 15 centimetres across and four centimetres thick. Using a circle cutter, cut into about eight circles and arrange on a paper-lined baking tray.
Chill for at least 20 minutes and up to two hours in the refrigerator.
Brush the tops of shortcakes with remaining cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes, then cool on wire rack. Once cool, split the shortcakes in half horizontally.
Toss the strawberries in a bowl with the jam, then heap them over the bottom halves of the shortcakes. Spoon whipped cream generously over the strawberries and replace the shortcake tops.
Serve immediately with remaining whipped cream on the side.
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