To me, nothing says summer in the midwest like shortcake biscuits heaped high with sweet, juicy strawberries and fluffy, billowy whipped cream (especially since farmer’s market strawberries just arrive here in Chicago!) I played around with my recipe a bit to create a slightly sweet biscuit, infused with a hint of vanilla bean and orange. To round out the flavor, I added a hint of orange juice to the whipping cream recipe. Topped with the strawberries, the result is a traditional strawberry shortcake with a hint of orangy freshness and comforting vanilla. One taste and you’ll know that summer has finally arrived.
- Yield: 8-10 Shortcake Biscuits
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 30
- 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon orange zest (zest from apx. 1/2 a medium orange)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 1 cup half & half mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or use buttermilk instead)
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Add the shortening and butter and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or your hands, until mixture has an even consistency and lumps are no larger than pea size.
- Add the orange zest, vanilla and the half & half mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are incorporated and a dough is formed. Do not overmix.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to a 1-inch thickness.
- 5Use a biscuit cutter or an overturned juice glass, cut out shortcakes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reroll any scraps and cut again but avoid excessive handling or the dough will become tough.
- Bake shortcakes for 15-20 minutes, or until biscuits are lightly browned and doubled in height. When finished, transfer shortcakes to a rack to cool.
- To serve, split the shortcakes in half and place bottom half on a serving dish. Layer with sweetened berries and a dollop of whipped cream. Add top half of shortcake and top with additional strawberries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.