Strawberries and Lavender Shortcake

March 16, 2010

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but here in Florida it’s strawberry season.  From February into March the locally-grown berries are everywhere.  This year’s harvest seems particularly sweet and delicious.  When I found them on sale I decided we’d have Strawberry Week in my kitchen.  Desserts, a salad, a chicken dish and, my favorite,  just straight up out of the box.

I’ll serve dessert first and start with this lavender twist on classic  Strawberry Shortcake.  It was music night so I was cooking for a crowd. I made a dozen but it’s easy to halve this recipe.

The Shortcake

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar, plus a little more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, firm and cold, plus a little more for brushing
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lavender (I love this big bag from MySpiceSage)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

The Berries

  • Strawberries, at least a pound
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

The Cream

  • Heavy Cream, 2 to 3 cups
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar (not shown)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400.  Combine all the dry ingredients but the lavender in a large bowl and whisk them together well.  Stick your finger in it and taste it so you can adjust the sugar to your liking.Using a pastry blender or fork cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse crumbs.Stir in the lavender.  A little goes a long way so you might want to start with just a teaspoon.Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk.  Stir it until the dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl.  Don’t overmix!Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick spray.Divide  the dough roughly in half and then half again, etc. and drop it on the baking sheet to make a dozen shortcakes.Brush the top of each with a little melted butter.Sprinkle with a little sugar.  Bake for 22-27 minutes, until they’re getting nice and golden.Cool on a rack.  I let these get a little too golden brown.Meanwhile, start on the strawberries.  Rinse them well.Slice them up.Sprinkle in some sugar.Add the vanilla and almond extracts and stir it all up to coat the berries.  Refrigerate for a while before serving.  The sugar and extracts will make a nice, light syrup.Just before serving, whip the cream.  Make sure the cream is very cold.  Chill the bowl and beater in the freezer for a few minutes before starting.

Beat the cream at high speed just until it starts to thicken.  Add the sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form.Break the shortcake in half or cut it in half like a biscuit.  Top it with berries, being sure to get a little of that syrup.  Finish with whipped cream and enjoy!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 grace March 16, 2010 at 4:12 pm

maaah-velous! a good strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite summer desserts, and i think the hint of lavender here must be amazing. incidentally, my favorite and most-used kitchen tool is the lowly pastry cutter. what a prize. :)

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2 Memoria March 16, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Wow. beautiful. This shortcake looks absolutely divine. I love your new apron, especially the color. I’m so glad you didn’t get pastel colors hahaha. I’ll have to look into the lavender. What does it do to the flavor of the dessert?

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3 Karen Bove March 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Yeah, I’m not a totally pastel kinda girl but I love this semi-frilly black and white apron.

Lavender tastes exactly like it smells. A little goes a long way for a subtle flavor and just makes it a little more interesting.

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4 Patty March 17, 2010 at 1:10 am

Wow those look great, the step-by-step pictures really help, thanks for posting!

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5 Emeline Preisler March 17, 2010 at 3:44 am

nice. Thank you

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6 Karen June 17, 2010 at 12:05 am

I made two batches of this recipe today, and gave it away to friends, along with the quarts of strawberries I had picked. They came out great!
I flatten the dough a bit, and cut big hearts to bake them in that shape. Oh, and I tossed in a couple of tablespoons of ground flax seeds for health.
Thanks for the recipe!
Anything with lavender is extra good.
Karen in Amherst, MA

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