"There are three schools of thought about making shortcakes. One, the biscuit school, insists that the dough be stiff enough to roll or at least shape with two hands. Another calls for a more liquid dough or rather a batter that can be dropped on the sheet pan with two spoons. A third uses sponge cake. The rolling and shaping method is described here, but if you want a more batterlike mixture, add an additional 1/3 cup heavy cream and spoon the batter onto the sheet pan." –James Peterson
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, thinly sliced
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup buttermilk or more as needed
- 2 tablespoons turbinado or granulated sugar
- 1 cup whipped cream made with heavy cream or crème fraîche
- 2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced and tossed with 1 tablespoon sugar or more to taste
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter and cut in with a pastry cutter until the pieces are no larger than small peas. In a small bowl, combine the egg with the buttermilk and pour the mixture over the dough. Stir together the mixture with a rubber spatula until there is no uncombined flour on the bottom of the bowl. If you see a lot of loose flour, add one or two tablespoons more buttermilk and mix again.
Dump the dough out onto a work surface and use your hands to gather it together into a mound, then flatten into a disk. At this point, it may be necessary to knead it a little to get it to hold together in a loose shaggy mass. Roll it out into a 3/4-inch thick disk. Use a 3 1/4-inch cookie cutter to cut out the shortcakes. Alternatively, divide the dough into 8 balls, a half-cup each, and flatten into disks. Arrange them on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Brush each of the shortcakes with buttermilk and sprinkle over the turbinado sugar.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until pale brown.
Just before serving, slice the shortcakes in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Arrange the strawberries over the bottom halves of the shortcakes—work directly on the serving plates so there is less transferring—and dollop the whipped cream over them. Put on the lids and serve.