Strawberry Elderflower Shortcake

by editor on July 3, 2011

Strawberry Elderflower Shortcake for Fourth of July

On a sunny summer weekend filled with the Tour de France, Wimbledon, and a huge basket of long-awaited Washington State strawberries, I made some scones on a whim to mop up the juices from my umpteenth bowl of the scarlet fruit.

Scones vs shortcake, I hear you ask? The lines between scone, biscuit and shortcake still appear fuzzy based on the wild variation in recipes you might find. More importantly, this dessert is incredibly fast to whip up – the scones are made in a single bowl by hand and bake fast. The elderflower also adds a nice floral complexity to the classic dessert without overpowering the timeless fresh flavors.

So, all that’s left is for me to wish you a happy strawberry season – and an unintentional Happy Fourth!

Strawberry Elderflower Shortcake
Serves 8

For the macerated elderflower strawberries:
3 pints (3 small baskets) fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
4 tbsp (60g) granulated sugar
5 tbsp (75ml) elderflower liqueur or cordial (e.g. St Germain or Belvoir)
3 tbsp (45ml) lemon juice

For the Scones:
2 cups (260g) flour
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick / 113g) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
2/3 – 3/4 cup (160 – 180 ml) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To serve:
1 pint (480ml) heavy cream
2 tbsp (30g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup jam (I used strawberry-rhubarb)
Handful of blueberries (optional)
Fresh mint (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.

In a non-metal bowl, stir together strawberries, sugar, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and set aside.

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and stir together. Add butter and cut into flour using two knives or rub in using fingers, until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir together until just combined (do not overmix).

Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Pat into a 12inch round and cut into 8 wedges using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter. Place wedges on prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and wrap warm scones in a clean tea towel while they cool down.

Whip cream and sugar together until soft peaks are formed. To assemble, cut scones in half, spread with a little jam if desired then top with whipped cream and strawberry elderflower mixture. Sprinkle with a little mint if you’re in the mood.

Serve with a tall glass of cold milk or a Pimm’s Cup!

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