Strawberry Hazelnut Shortcakes
These shortcakes are delicate, so you need to use a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to split them. Or you can set a whole biscuit alongside a big scoop of the berries topped with cream. The sweet, earthy flavor of hazelnuts is delicious here, but toasted walnuts or pecans would be great, too.
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
- 2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
For the strawberries with honey and lavender:
- 2 lb. strawberries
- 1 rounded Tbs. granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. dried lavender blossoms
- 2 Tbs. honey
For the vanilla whipped cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- About 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a large, heavy baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt and pulse a few times to mix. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the hazelnuts and pulse until the hazelnuts are finely chopped. Pour the 1/2 cup cream evenly over the mixture and pulse until moist clumps form.
Remove the dough from the processor, gather into a ball and place the ball on a lightly floured work surface. Pat the dough into a 4-by-6-inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into 2-inch squares, making 6 biscuits total (with no scraps).
Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through, about 14 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the biscuits cool completely on the pan.
Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries: Stem and core the strawberries, then halve small ones or quarter large ones lengthwise. Place in a large bowl. In a mortar, using a pestle, grind together the granulated sugar and lavender blossoms until the lavender is finely ground. Sprinkle the lavender sugar over the strawberries, then drizzle the honey over the berries and stir to coat evenly.
To make the whipped cream, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the cream, granulated sugar to taste and vanilla on medium-high speed until medium peaks form.
Using a serrated knife, gently split each biscuit and place on individual plates. Spoon the strawberries and whipped cream onto the bottom halves, cap with the biscuit tops and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Garden Cookbook, by Jeanne Kelley (Weldon Owen, 2013).