Strawberry-Basil Shortcakes

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Guys, we totally did it. We’re officially in  summer-mode…sort of. It’s a bit chilly around these parts, but it’s JUNE for crying out loud, and if isn’t  summer by now, it’ll never be! So let’s just call it what we all want it to be, and move on.

In celebration of our new season of warmth and green grass, and also in celebration of strawberries being $1/lb  this week at the market, let’s spoil ourselves and have some strawberry-basil shortcake, shall we? It’s the perfect weekend dessert because it’s really at its finest within 2-3 days, and you can totally get up on Sunday morning, pop one of these babies on a plate, and call it breakfast. No one’s going to judge you; it’s the WEEKEND.

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This was my first time making a compote, and now I want to compote everything. I’ve had tomato compote in the past that was tucked into the greatest BLT there ever was, and I’d wanted to replicate it at home, but time went by, other recipes demanded my attention, and I eventually forgot all about it. I’m so glad that my first time attempting the art of the compote was: 1. successful (let’s be real.) and 2. the most important part of a seriously good dessert.

And for those of you out there feeling a little taken aback by the utilization of basil in a dessert let me tell you this: it’ll blow all those other strawberry shortcakes you have had in the past RIGHT out of the water. Basil leaves often give strawberry desserts that extra UMPH that they need to journey to the next level. The flavor is subtle, but its role is vital in bringing the whole shortcake operation together. I’m telling you, you’ll love it.

Go ahead, have some strawberry-basil shortcake this weekend.

 

STRAWBERRY-BASIL SHORTCAKES

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 6 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2-2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled, then quartered (about 3 cups or so), then divided
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2-4 sprigs basil
  • 2 cups heavy cream (this one’s for the whipped cream)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

To make the shortcakes:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk the sugar, baking powder, salt, and two cups of flour in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or your fingers), mix in the butter until the mixture becomes coarse, and there are a few pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Add the cream and mix until the dough comes together (Be careful not to over-mix. And don’t worry, it’s supposed to be sticky).

Turn out the dough onto a lightly-floured surface (I always use a clean cutting board), and pat into a rectangle with about 3/4 inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out 2 1/2 inch rounds, re-rolling when you need to. You should have eight rounds by the end.

Whisk the egg with one tablespoon of water in a small bowl. That’ll be your egg wash.

Transfer your rounds to a lined baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash.

Bake until the tops are golden brown, and the shortcakes are fully-cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Make sure to keep a close eye on them!

To make the strawberry-basil filling:

Roughly chop 2 cups strawberries and cook with two tablespoons sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Once the berries have softened, released their juices, and the mixture is thickened, your compote is done. Let it cool completely.

In a medium bowl, toss basil, one tablespoon of sugar, and one cup of strawberries, and let sit until the fruit begins to release its juices. This should take about 10-15 minutes, but I tend to let it sit for longer. The longer the better in my opinion. Once you’re ready to assemble your shortcakes,, discard the basil.

To make the whipped cream topping:

Using an electric mixer (or whisk if you want a really good workout) whisk together the heavy cream, two tablespoons of sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.

Assembly:

Cut each shortcake in half so that there is a top and a bottom.

Place the bottom on a plate. Spoon on some of the compote mixture.

Spoon on some whipped cream.

Over the whipped cream, spoon on some of the basil-infused strawberries.

Add the top part of your shortcake.

Enjoy!

SOURCE: Adapted from Bon Appetit

 

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