Newfound love in a strawberry shortcake recipe
Until this past week in pastry class at the CIA, I fretted over the mixing of biscuits and pie dough. You've heard the mantra. Cut the butter into the flour only to pea size lumps! No smaller! Don't over mix the dough! You'll make it tough!" Ugh. It's too much. And unnecessary.
Now that chefs are routinely schooling me in proper technique, I realize you'd have to beat your poor dough all the way to Tuesday to inflict any lasting damage. And that's why I love this strawberry shortcake recipe. It's CIA chef-tested and more importantly, drama-proof.
You literally mix this biscuit dough for six minutes. SIX FREAKIN' MINUTES! I surely thought my pastry chef instructor was crazy. Cracked up. Lost his marbles. But culinary students do as culinary students are told. "Sure thing, chef," fifty-five (tough and rubbery) strawberry shortcakes coming up by five o'clock.
Let the mixer roll
With serious hesitation, I let the mixer rip. Two minutes on low speed, then (insert cringe) four minutes on medium. We patted out the soft mass to half an inch thick, and cut pretty little scalloped rounds. At least they'll be cute, I thought, hopelessly. I wasted no time tasting the baked biscuits - light, fluffy and the perfect texture for liqueur laden strawberries and whipped cream. Wow, what an edible epiphany.
I now feel no pressure when crafting pie dough and biscuits at home to worry about over mixing or creating lumps of butter that are exactly the size of a garden vegetable. Furthermore, flaky pie doughs are usually only desired when the shell is completely baked prior to filling, such as with chocolate cream pie. Because when you fill an uncooked crust, the weight of the mixture will collapse any large pockets of flake created, anyway (effort wasted).
So enough is enough, I say. Dough made using paddle pressure may seem contradictory, but especially with this recipe, you'll find it pleasingly supple and easy to handle. Because baking should be fun, not a source of frustration. We have lives, families and jobs for that.Print
Adapted from the Culinary Institute of America pastry course syllabus.
1¾ cup bread flour*
1¾ cup pastry flour*
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs baking powder
3 Tbs sugar, granulated
2 oz butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, large
7 fluid ounces buttermilk (see directions)
1 quart strawberries, stemmed and halved
2 Tbs Grand Marnier or Cointreau (or liqueur of choice)
1 Tbs sugar, granulated
Fresh Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbs granulated sugar
Macerate the strawberries
Fancy word for marinate. Combine strawberries with liquor and sugar, and let sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Refrigerate after serving.
Mix + bake the biscuits
Combine first five ingredients, whisking to mix well. Crack egg into a measuring cup, then add buttermilk to make one cup total. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix butter with dry ingredients until combined well. Add eggs and buttermilk, beat on low for one minute. Up the speed to medium, and beat for three more minutes.
On a floured surface, pat dough gently to an inch thick, and cut rounds of desired size and stagger on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° F until they feel light when lifted, and are cooked through (tear one open to test if you're not sure).
Fresh Whipped Cream
With a hand mixer or whisk attachment on a stand mixer, whip together heavy cream and sugar until you get stiff peaks.
Keywords: strawberry shortcake recipe