Real Southern Shortcake

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 8 servings
  • Prep 30 mins
  • Cook 12 mins

Shortcake is a dressed-up biscuit just waiting for ripe fruit and whipped cream.

Little compares to the spring and summer fruits of the South--fresh strawberries, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries--to satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether you pick your own or visit a local roadside fruit stand or farmers market, the finest way to honor this sweet Southern bounty is with real shortcake. Champions of shortcake know that, in the South, it's not spongy store-bought cake but a home-baked rich biscuit that stands up to hefty spoonfuls of fruit without becoming soggy. If you can make biscuits, you can make shortcake. The only real difference is that shortcake is a little richer and often contains butter, not shortening, with a little sugar for sweetness. Strawberries are the quintessential standard for shortcake, but a mixture of fresh sliced peaches, strawberries, and blueberries is a gorgeous combination. Remember that fruits are most flavorful at room temperature, not chilled. Just before preparing the shortcake, toss the washed and cut fruits with sugar to sweeten and bring out their juices. Your preference and the flavor of the fruit determine how much you need. And for goodness sake, fresh fruits and real shortcake call for nothing less than homemade whipped cream. It takes only minutes to prepare and is more than worth it.

Ingredients

2 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup Milk
6 cups sliced fresh fruit and/or berries, sweetened to taste
Whipped Cream:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar; mix well.
  2. Cut butter into flour with pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly. Add milk and stir with a fork just until dough leaves sides of the bowl.
  3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board or pastry cloth; knead gently just until smooth, about five to seven times. Roll out to 1/2-inch thickness.
  4. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter into rounds, or cut into squares with a knife.
  5. Place on prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter.
  6. Chill a large mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about five minutes. Pour cream into chilled bowl. Whip with electric mixer until slightly thickened. Sprinkle sugar and vanilla over cream.
  7. Continue to beat just until soft peaks form, being careful not to overwhip. The cream should be smooth and thickened.
  8. Serve shortcakes warm or at room temperature. Split shortcake and butter each side. Fill with fruit. Top with whipped cream.

Note: If using all-purpose flour, sift 1 tablespoon baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt with flour.

Recipe by Mindy Merrell.

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