What’s more American than strawberry shortcake? Well, maybe apple pie and baseball. However, when I think of the Memorial Day or July 4th long weekends, strawberry shortcake is the dessert that springs to mind. Even though I’m Canadian by birth and in my heart, I hope that living in the U.S.A. for the past 14 years gives me enough honorary American status to be able to feature this dessert.
In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp baking powder, 3/4 tsp salt, and 6 tbsp sugar.
Cut 1 1/2 stick (12 tbsp) cold, unsalted butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture.
Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, rub or cut the butter into the flour mixture until there are pea-sized pieces. Be sure to work quickly so that the heat of your hands does not begin to melt the butter.
Add 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream to the flour mixture.
Using a fork, gently toss the ingredients until the dough begins to hold together.
If there is some flour left in the bottom of the bowl, use your hands to gently knead it into the dough. Do not overmix. As Dorie points out, it’s better to have a few dry spots than to overmix the dough, which will make it tough.
Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out the dough and place it in loose mounds on the lined baking sheet. Place the six mounds so that they are about 3 inches apart. Press down the dough so that the mounds are between 3/4 inch and 1 inch high.
Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, turning the baking sheet around halfway through baking. When the shortcakes are puffed and give a little when you push on them slightly, remove them from the oven. Remove the shortcakes from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.
If you have leftover dough, bake on a cool sheet.
Place approximately 3 cups of sliced strawberries into a medium bowl and mix in about 2 tsp sugar. Let the strawberries macerate for 10-15 minutes. They will begin to release their juices and soften. Yum!
Cut the shortcakes in half horizontally. Place the bottom halves on dessert plates, top with about 1/2 cup strawberries, and spoon on some whipped cream. Garnish with a sprig of mint.