Balsamic Basil Strawberry Shortcake

It’s official. This summer, I’m obsessed with strawberries. Way more obsessed then usual. After going strawberry picking a couple weeks ago, I thought my craving for fresh sweet strawberries had passed.

But then, this weekend I was up in NH visiting a friend. We went to a farmer’s market in nearby VT and I saw these beauties sitting there. They called out to me. I couldn’t resist.

And instead of being reasonable, I decided to just go ahead an buy 8 qts of strawberries. Since Hubby and I both enjoy snacking on fresh strawberries, I knew it wouldn’t be an issue to have so many super-ripe berries in our house.

I also decided this would be a great opportunity for me to redeem myself with Hubby. You see, when we went strawberry picking, I asked him what he wanted me to bake. He immediately replied “Shortcake”.

I then proceeded to ignore his request and made this awesome Fresh Strawberry Pie. Sure, he enjoyed it, but it wasn’t shortcake and he was giving me crap all week about asking what he wanted then just making something else.

So I decided on shortcake. I just needed a recipe. I sat down with a bunch of my favorite cookbooks to look for inspiration. When I saw Joanne Chang’s version, something spoke to me. I think it was the balsamic vinegar.

I decided to add basil because I know it pairs well with strawberries and balsamic. We shared the shortcake with some friends and everyone agreed that it was a great way to highlight the tiny fresh berries.

In fact, we all enjoyed the berries so much that we ate them all slopped over only 4 of the 8 biscuits. So the next night, I sliced more berries, macerated them with some balsamic and basil, and had friends over again to enjoy the rest of the Balsamic Basil Strawberry Shortcake. I recommend you do the same while you can still get your hands on strawberries!

I also took a picture of my new favorite kitchen gadget – my cream whipper – because I got quite a few questions about it when I mentioned it last time. Once you fill it with heavy cream, you can keep it in your fridge for up to two weeks and have freshly whipped cream in seconds. It’s dangerously awesome.

One last thing – definitely double the strawberries and whipped cream in this recipe. I’ve typed it up below with the quantities I used, and we definitely piled the toppings on high. Either that or cut the shortcake ingredients in half to only make 4 biscuits.

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Balsamic Basil Strawberry Shortcake

Balsamic vinegar and basil enhance the flavors of this classic summertime dessert. I would recommend doubling the strawberries and whipped cream so you can pile them on nice and high!

Yield: Serves 8


For the Shortcakes
2 1/2 cups (350 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) plus 1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks/170 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12-14 pieces
3 eggs
1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream

For the Strawberries
2 pints (600 grams) strawberries
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp basil
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (about 2/3 lemon)
6 Tbsp (75 grams) sugar

For the Whipped Cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1-1/4 cups (300 grams) heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla


For the Shortcakes
Position the rack in the center of the oven, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and alt on low speed for 10-15 seconds or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top and beat on medium low speed for a bout 30 seconds or until the butter is brown down the mixture get sort of mealy.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 of the eggs and the cream until thoroughly mixed. On low speed, pour in the egg mixture all at once and beat for 10 to 15 seconds, or until the dough comes together.

Dump the dough out onto a floured work surface and press it out into a circle about 8 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out circles, rerolling scraps as necesary to get 8 circles total. Place them on an ungreased baking sheet several inches apart.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg until blended. Brush the tops of the dough circles with the egg. Sprinkle evenly with the the 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until light golden brown. Let cool on pan or on wire rack until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a rack to cool until warm.

For the Strawberries
Meanwhile, stem the strawberries, and cut each berry lengthwise into four or five slices. In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the basil, vinegar, lemon zest, and the 6 tablespoons of sugar and let macerate for about 30 minutes.

For the Whipped Cream
Using a handheld mixer or whisk, whip the cream wit the 1 tablespoon sugar and the vanilla just until it hold soft peaks.

To Assemble the Shortcakes
Split each shortcake in half horizontally. Set the bottom haves, cut sides up, on individual services plates. Divide the strawberries and their syrup evenly among the bottom halves, then top the strawberries wit the whipped cream, again dividing evenly. Balance the top halves on the whipped cream and serve immediately.

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