I went to my Betty Crocker Cook Book and The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cook Book. I finally settled on America's Test Kitchen since, quite frankly, it made a smaller batch. The following recipe has very few minor adjustments from me. I didn't make the full batch of strawberries shown here because I knew we wouldn't eat them fast enough, but I've included the original amount. I also went square instead of round on my shortcakes because I'm lazy. They were quite large though. I'm not complaining. And the brand of food processor I have is called Fork. If you've got a food processor, or heck a pastry blender, you're one step ahead of me. Still if I can pull this off with some degree of impressiveness then I think you'll be able to pull off a showstopper (bonus points if you get the reference). Have to say, in the end I was quite chuffed with myself. *British terms and phrases are available for a limited time only during periods of overdose on BBC programming.
Prepare the strawberries first and set them aside to macerate while preparing the biscuits.
8 cups (40 ounces) strawberries, hulled
6 tablespoons of sugar
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface and biscuit cutter
5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon half-and-half or milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 Cup heavy whipping cream, chilled (I also chilled the bowl)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powdered sugar *Optional
1, For the Fruit: slice the strawberries in a large bowl and stir together with sugar. Set aside for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. The original recipe calls for crushing 3 cups of the strawberries with a potato masher, but quite frankly I couldn't be bothered.
2. For the Shortcake: Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degress. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. With a wire whisk combine the flour, 3 Tablespoons of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Sprinkle chilled butter cubes over the flour mixture and use a fork to work butter into flour mixture until it resembles a course meal. The original recipe calls for pulsing the mixture in a food processor and then pulsing the butter in (about 15 pulses) but I have a fork, not a food processor.
3. Whisk the milk and lightly beaten whole egg together in a small bowl, then stir into the flour mixture with the rubber spatula until large clumps form. It will be quite shaggy (ruh roh). Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the excess bits are worked in and it just comes together.
4. Pat the dough into a 9 by 6 inch rectangle about 3/4 of an inch thick. I used a measuring tape y'all! We're warned here not to overwork the dough and to also use a biscuit cutter to cut out 6 biscuits. I skipped the biscuit cutter bit and simply cut my rectangle into 6 equal squares. I figure it saves the overworking of the dough and eliminates the waste. No one wants wasted shortcake dough! The square shortcakes are original if a little big. Go big or go home. Brush the tops with the slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle the remaining 2 Tablespoons of sugar over the top. I'm not going to lie, I just sprinkled as much sugar as I wanted over the top. If you want to wait to bake you can cover your biscuits and keep them in the fridge for up to 2 hours. But why would you want to do that?
5. Bake until the shortcakes are golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes rotating the sheet pan halfway through. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and cool the shortcakes about 10 minutes until warm.
6. For the Whipped Cream: In a medium bowl whip the cream sugar, and vanilla together on low until frothy. Then increase the speed to high and whip until cream forms soft peaks 1 to 3 minutes. At this point I slowed down the mixer and added about a Tablespoon of powdered sugar to stabilize it somewhat. I usually don't add my flavorings and sugar at the beginning and I think it gives a softer cream. Next time I think I'll skip the granulated sugar and just do my sprinkle of powdered at the end.