One of my favorite things about the changing of the seasons is the opportunity to revisit and renew some familiar seasonal dishes. It is a rare occurrence for me to make the same Thanksgiving dish twice, and when it comes to planning birthday cakes, it’s like a whole new world of possibility just opens up before me. Lately, with the arrival of fresh strawberries at the market, I’ve been itching to audition a new take on one of the most prevalent of summery of treats: strawberry shortcake.
This is not the first time I have played around with traditional strawberry shortcake, but, never one to stop while the creative juices continue to flow, I’ve long had another iteration in mind that would serve less as a dessert, more as a breakfast accompaniment or mid-day snack. With these fluffy, layered biscuits, I believe I have accomplished just that.
With hits of lemon zest and the tanginess of yogurt, these tall, flakey biscuits are studded with chunks of strawberries. The sweetness of each biscuit is kept duly in check by eliminating any sugar in the biscuit dough, instead topping each biscuit with a crunchy sprinkling of golden raw sugar. What you have is a wonderful breakfast biscuit, or the perfect companion to a cup of afternoon tea. I adorned my biscuit with a dollop of my current favorite, all-purpose topping, lemon yogurt, but you can take these biscuits to another level of decadence by spreading them with a thin layer of mascarpone cheese or, if you can find it, clotted cream. They are delightful as is, but, in light of my own habits of persistent experimentation, I am certainly not one to keep you from dressing up these biscuits as you see fit.
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt (nonfat is fine, I used nonfat Greek yogurt)
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks and chilled
1 ½ cups diced strawberries, cut into ½ to ¼-inch pieces
1 tablespoon turbinado (raw) sugar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl, or in a large measuring up, whisk together yogurt, milk, and lemon zest.
Add the cold butter chunks to the flour mixture, and, using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few pea-sized bits of butter strewn within. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture, and stir gently to just combine. Gently fold in the diced strawberries.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Gently knead the dough two or three times, just until it comes together, but still looks rather shaggy. Shape the dough into a large rectangle that is roughly 12 inches wide and 18 inches tall, then fold the dough in thirds from top to bottom (as though you are folding a letter). Pat the dough into a rectangle that is roughly 12 inches wide and 6 inches tall. Sprinkle the turbinado over the top of the dough, then gently press down on the sugar to help it adhere.
Using a large knife or a bench scraper, cut the dough into 12 squares. Place the squares evenly apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the biscuits in the center of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops of the biscuits are dark golden brown and the bottoms of the biscuits are crisp and dark.
Remove biscuits to a wire rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with yogurt, mascarpone cheese, or clotted cream.
|About the contributor:|
|Elizabeth Miller is a freelance writer who runs Savory Salty Sweet, a food and kitchen appreciation website. She also writes the Melting Pot column here on Indie Fixx, which appears bimonthly on Fridays. Read more about her on the contributors’ page.|