If spongy, puck-like rounds of cake topped with strawberries are what come to mind when you think of the cake component of strawberry shortcake, this is not it. Rather, Wolfgang Puck's take on this American classic manages to perfectly straddle the line between refined and rustic: tender, slightly sweet biscuits are lavished with kirsch-and-orange-zest-enlivened macerated strawberries, while a duo of dairy (vanilla ice cream and barely sweetened whipped cream) round it all out. In short, it's a dessert worthy of a dinner party.
For the shortcake:
2 3/4 cups (11 ounces) pastry or cake flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 cup heavy cream, plus addition to brush on top
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling on top
For the strawberries:
2 pints fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 teaspoons kirsch
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
- Make the shortcake: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the cubed butter to the flour mixture, and cut it in using a pastry cutter (rubbing it in with your fingertips also works in a pinch). Keep working the butter into the dough until the pieces of butter are roughly pea sized. Add the cream, and gently fold it into the dough with a rubber spatula until it becomes a shaggy but relatively cohesive mass. Give the dough a few kneads with your hands (fewer than 10) so that it forms a rough ball.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead, forming a smooth ball. Do not overwork. Pat out the dough to a 3/4 inch thick disc. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 to 7 circles. (Knead the scraps together, and reroll as needed.)
- Arrange the rounds on the prepped half-sheet pan; brush the tops with cream and sprinkle lightly with coarse sugar. Bake for 22 to 28 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and firm to the touch. Cook on a wire rack.
- Prep the strawberries: Meanwhile, rinse and stem the strawberries; cut each berry into thick slices. Whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, kirsch, and orange zest in a small mixing bowl. Add the strawberries, and gently toss to coat.
- To serve: Split each shortcake in half, and warm slightly. For each serving, place the bottom half of the shortcake on a dessert plate. Top the cake with a scoop of ice cream, and arrange strawberries over and around the ice cream, drizzling with the strawberry juices, and top with the remaining half of the cake. Add a dollop of whipped cream on the side of the plate.
- 6-7 servings