New Orleans and weddings have a few things in common – a good party and lively guests to name two – but one in particular is an emphasis on food.
For a New Orleanian, it’s not a party unless the menu is just right. And for that reason, we’ve teamed up with Chef Bryan Clark, executive chef for Joel Catering and Events, to bring readers a “Caterer’s Choice” of the month.
“For me, spring means many things — most of them food-related — and one of my favorite reminders that winter has passed is when fresh strawberries become available,” says Clark. “We’re so lucky to live in Louisiana and near so many strawberry farms, which mean fast and fresher berries.”
Though, as chef emphasizes, strawberries are perfect for many dishes, a sweet strawberry shortcake is exactly the dessert you want for this time of year.
“A real shortcake is a biscuit,” says Clark. “It’s a pretty simple recipe; takes little time and will leave your guests thinking you’re a pastry chef.”
Strawberry Shortcakes Recipe
- 3 pints fresh strawberries
- ½ cup white sugar, or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons orange or citrus liquor (optional) such as triple sec
- 3 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ¼ cups butter
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Pick over and hull strawberries. Cut in half or slices, depending on size. Gently crush about a quarter of the berries with a fork to release their juices. Mix with remaining berries, 1/2 cup of sugar, and orange or citrus liquor (optional), adding more sugar if necessary. Set aside, covered, for about half an hour to develop flavor.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, salt and baking powder. Add 3/4 cup of softened butter, and rub into dry ingredients until incorporated. Add 1 1/4 cups cream, and mix to a soft dough. Knead the dough for one minute on a lightly floured pastry board, and then roll it out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut an even number of rounds, 2 rounds per serving. Use a little of the butter to grease a baking sheet. Place half of the rounds on it.
- Melt remaining butter and brush a little on the rounds; place remaining rounds on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, and pull shortcakes apart. Brush the insides with some of the remaining melted butter.
- Whisk the remaining heavy whipping cream, ¼ cup powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until it thickens to a stiff peak.
- Place a bottom half of a shortcake on each plate. Top with a generous spoonful of berries. Cover with a top half, add a few more berries, and top with whipped cream.