Picking strawberries goes something like this: one for the basket, one for the mouth. On the farm, we grow small alpine berries, known as “fraises des bois” or berries of the woods, because they are small and sweet, just like wild berries. (by the way, if you’re going to buy organic fruit, we suggest that you spend the money on berries because they are more prone to absorbing pesticides.) For the berries that actually make it back to the kitchen, a celebration of sorts is called for. Heavy cream and sour cream combine to make a super thick and tangy cream called Crème Fraiche. Start the Crème Fraiche a day before you plan on preparing the shortcakes.
To hull strawberries (which means removing the green leafy stem and the hard bit of berry just beneath it) we suggest using a paring knife. Insert it at a slight angle under the green stem, then turn the berry until you’ve made a cut all the way around. The stem can be gently pulled out of the berry. Of course, hulling isn’t necessary when you’re popping berries into your mouth. In fact, the green stem makes a nice little handle.
If you’d like to freeze strawberries, hull and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Freeze them on the sheet; then transfer them to freezer containers. They’ll keep for up to 6 months.
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1-pound strawberries, thinly sliced
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
- ½ cup buttermilk
- Prep Time: 9hr
- Cook Time: 20m
In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and sour cream. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 10 hours or until thick enough that a spoon can stand up in it.
In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and set aside for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a pastry blender, or two knives used scissors fashion, cut the butter into the flour mixture until pea-size lumps remain. Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined. Transfer to a floured work surface and pat the dough out to a 9-inch round about a ¾ inch thick. With a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 6 rounds, rerolling scraps as necessary. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the tops are firm. Let cool to room temperature.
Split each biscuit in half horizontally. Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar into the Crème Fraiche. Top with the other biscuit half.
Instead of making Crème Fraiche, simply whip heavy cream with a little sugar.
For an even richer biscuit, swap in heavy cream for the buttermilk and omit the baking soda.
This recipe can be found in our Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.