For seasonal eaters, nothing is more delicious than the very first strawberry of the season, eaten straight from its container. Except, perhaps, this. Strawberry shortcake tastes even better than you remember with a moist, almond-scented (and surprisingly easy) biscuit, berries that have been macerated in a splash of sweet wine, toasted almonds, and a generous billow of whipped cream. Spring (or shall I say, summer?) has officially arrived.
- Parchment paper
- 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 2 teaspoons natural cane sugar (such as Florida Crystals)
- 3 tablespoons sweet dessert wine (optional)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup natural cane sugar (such as Florida Crystals)
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Scant tablespoon turbinado or demerara sugar
- Toasted sliced almonds
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream
- Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the strawberries, sugar and sweet wine (if using).
- In a small bowl, mix the sour cream with the almond extract. Refrigerate. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed and cut to the size of small peas (alternatively, cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a fork or pastry cutter). Scrape the dough into a bowl. Using a fork, mix in the sour cream until the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until it just holds together, about 4-6 turns.
- Divide the dough into 6 roughly equal portions. Very gently shape each portion into a 3/4-inch thick disc (a light touch makes for flakier biscuits). Line the discs on the parchment-lined baking sheet leaving 2 inches between each. Brush each biscuit with cream and sprinkle with turbinado or demerara sugar.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden with dark brown peaks.
- Cool the biscuits for about 4-5 minutes (or until you can handle them without burning your fingers). Carefully cut each biscuit in half horizontally. Place the bottom halves in the center of each plate. Top each half with berries and some of their juice, followed by a sprinkle of toasted, sliced almonds and a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Perch the other biscuit halves on top and serve. Do Ahead: The biscuits can be made 2 hours in advance and left at room temperature. Reheat in a 450˚F oven before serving.