Makes 6 shortcakes

For the shortcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons good quality malted milk powder (try King Arthur Flour brand)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup heavy cream, very cold, plus extra for brushing tops of shortcakes
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar for topping (preferably large crystal sugar)

For the topping

  • Strawberries, cut in half or quartered, macerated with sugar to taste
  • Heavy cream, whipped into soft peaks

Prepare the shortcakes

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.

2. Sift flour and baking powder together into a large mixing bowl.

3. Add sugar, salt, and malted milk powder.

4. Scatter the butter cubes over dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until pea-sized lumps of butter remain.

5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the cream. Using one of the knives, mix the dough together. Do not overmix: the dough should still look a little shaggy.

6. Turn dough onto a floured work surface and gently pat into a round. Dust with flour and lightly roll out until about 1 1/2-inches thick. Using a 4-inch biscuit cutter, cut rounds.

7. Put shortcakes onto the baking sheet. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with the topping sugar.

8. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

To serve

Split the shortcakes horizontally and put the base, cut side up, on a plate. Top with berries and some juice, and a dollop of whipped cream. Set the top of the shortcake at a jaunty angle against the berries and cream, cut side down.

These shortcakes are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days. Refresh them in a preheated 325-degree oven for 5 minutes before serving. To freeze, wrap completely cooled shortcakes individually in plastic wrap for up to one week. Reheat, directly from the freezer, in a 325-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

This recipe was originally published with the article, Berries of the Heart.