For Flag Day, we’re making some all-American, patriotic strawberry shortcakes. Posting date is June 15!
Brown Sugar Shortcakes with Brown Sugar Syrup, Mixed Berries, and Whipped Cream
Author: Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
Yield: 6 servings
For the Brown Sugar Shortcakes
- 2 ounces (½ stick/55 g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes, plus more for the pan
- 4 tablespoons (50 g) shortening, cold
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (145 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (145 g) cake flour
- ½ cup (110 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
For the Brown Sugar Syrup and Berries
- 8 ounces (225 g) strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 1½ cups)
- 8 ounces (225 g) blueberries (about 1½ cups)
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ¼ cup (60 ml) Grand Marnier (optional)
For the Whipped Cream
- 1½ cups (360 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Assembly
- Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Make the Brown Sugar Shortcakes
- Place the cubed butter and shortening in a small bowl, give a quick stir, cover the bowl, and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Pour ½ cup (120 ml) of the cream into a glass measuring cup. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and whisk until combined. Place in the refrigerator.
- Remove the butter and shortening from the freezer and drop the cubes over the flour mixture. Use your fingers to rub the butter and shortening into the flour until the mixture is coarse and pebbly. Add the cream mixture. Working quickly, use a fork to cut the wet ingredients into the dry until just a few dry streaks remain; do not overmix the dough.
- Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour, place the dough on it, and dust the top of the dough with a little more flour. Gently knead the dough until it is uniform and smooth, only about 1 minute; the dough should hold its shape without falling apart.
- Roll the dough into about a 9-inch (23-cm) round (if anything it should be slightly less than that, not larger), about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Using a 2½-inch (6-cm) round cutter, cut out 6 shortcakes. You might need to gather the scraps and reroll one time to get all 6 cakes.
- Transfer the cakes to the parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes. (Meanwhile, you can make your brown sugar syrup and berries, if you want to serve the shortcakes warm.)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons cream with the egg white.
- Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and brush the top of each cake with the egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar, and bake until the cakes are evenly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 12 to 16 minutes; do not overbake. Allow the cakes to cool for at least 10 minutes. The cakes taste just as good warm as they do at room temperature.
Make the Brown Sugar Syrup and Berries
- Place the berries in a large bowl. Sprinkle them with the brown sugar and orange zest. Gently toss a few times with your hand, then add the Grand Marnier, if using, and toss again. Let the berries macerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, tossing the mixture every 10 minutes until ready to use.
Make the Whipped Cream
- Place a metal bowl and whisk or, if you prefer, the bowl of a standing mixer and the whisk attachment into the freezer to chill for a few minutes.
- Right before assembling, pour the cream into the chilled bowl and beat with the whisk for about 1 minute; alternatively, beat on medium speed in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the cream and continue whisking vigorously until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and whisk until just incorporated.
Assemble the Shortcakes
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the berries from their syrup and place them in a separate bowl. Do not discard the syrup.
- Gently slice a shortcake in half horizontally (a serrated knife works well here). Place the bottom section (sliced side facing up) on a serving plate. Spoon a few tablespoons of syrup over the cake to cover. Add about ½ cup (75 g) of berries to cover the bottom of the cake, spoon with a few dollops of whipped cream, and top with the other half of the cake (sliced side facing down). Repeat with the remaining shortcakes, syrup, berries, and cream. Dust the shortcakes with confectioners’ sugar, if you like, and serve immediately.