A generous helping of ripe strawberries and a billowy cloud of softly whipped cream fill these homemade shortcakes, which are easily made in a food processor and have a drop-biscuit consistency. A crunchy textural contrast comes from toasted sliced almonds and sugar crystals that bake on top of the cakes.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons half-and-half
Coarse sugar (or granulated sugar) for tops of cakes
6 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
3-4 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
4 tablespoons Torani strawberry or raspberry syrup
Grated zest of 1/2 Meyer lemon
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
To prepare the shortcakes: Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat; preheat the oven to 425?Ǭ?. Sift the flours and baking powder into a bowl.
Combine 3/4 cup of the almonds and the powdered sugar in a food processor and whir into a fine grind. Add the flour mixture to the almond/sugar mixture and whir to combine. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse it in until you have a cornmeal-like consistency. Add the half-and-half all at once and pulse until just combined. You should have a spoonable biscuit batter.
Drop 1/4-cup mounds onto the lined baking sheet to form 8 individual shortcakes. Sprinkle coarse sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup almonds over the cakes, gently pressing them into the dough. Place in the oven and bake for 14-18 minutes, or until the almonds are golden-brown and the cakes are done in the center. Remove to a rack. Although these are best freshly made and warm, they can be served at room temperature or you may wrap them in foil and refrigerate or freeze them for later.
To prepare the strawberries: Combine the strawberries, sugar, syrup and zest. Set aside to macerate for 1 hour.
To prepare the cream: Pour the cream into a cold mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla. Beat only until the cream begins to hold its shape. Do not take it to the stage where the whisks leave tracks. The cream should drape.
To serve: Split the shortcakes horizontally and place on serving plates. (If they have been frozen, warm them in the oven before using.) Spoon the prepared strawberries onto the bottom halves — including plenty of juice — pile on the cream and finish with the top halves of the shortcake (almonds on top). Drizzle some strawberry juices around the plate.
Per serving: 665 calories, 8 g protein, 57 g carbohydrate, 46 g fat (25 g saturated), 133 mg cholesterol, 194 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.