When James Beard shared his mother's recipe for shortcake with his friend Larry Forgione, the future JBF Award winner put the dessert on his menu at An American Place in St. Louis, and it remains there to this day. Finely crumbled hard-boiled egg yolks, which enrich the dough without toughening it, contribute to the baked cakes' perfectly tender crumb.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
- 2 hard-boiled egg yolks, pushed through a small mesh sieve
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 3 pints fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved or quartered, depending on size
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 1 tablespoon sugar
In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Mix in 1/4 cup of the sugar and salt. Add the chilled butter cubes and using your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mixture until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Add the sieved hard-boiled egg yolks. Slowly add the cream in small increments, blending into the mixture until absorbed before adding more; gently mix until the dough just comes together.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and gently knead into a smooth ball (about two or three turns). Gently pat down the dough to make a flat 1-inch-thick slab. Using a lightly floured 2 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut straight down to create 6 shortcakes. Place the shortcakes on a plate lined with waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Just before baking brush the tops of each shortcake with melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Transfer the chilled shortcakes to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake on the center rack of the oven until golden and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the shortcakes cool, prepare the fruit filling and whipped cream. Place the strawberries in a large bowl. Gently fold in the sugar and let sit until macerated.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the chilled heavy cream on low and gradually increase speed until it begins to thicken. Reduce speed, add sugar, and begin to slowly increase the speed until the whipped cream is thickened, about 4 minutes total.
Using a fork or serrated knife, cut the shortcakes in half. Place the bottom halves on plates and generously spoon the macerated strawberries and juices over them. Top with a heaping dollop of whipped cream. Top with the other half of each shortcake. Serve immediately.
Adapted from James Beard's original recipe. Recipe photo and food styling by Judy Kim.