Hello everyone! Today I have my friend Addie here with a delicious guest post. Don’t forget to stop by her site, Culicurious.com to check out what I made for her! -BFB

Hi, my name is Addie Martin, and I’m the creative force behind Culicurious, a blog based on table-centered living. My main focus is recipes, but I also blog about restaurant, bar and travel experiences plus a little gardening. I’m thrilled to be here today sharing a recipe with all of you here at Big Fat Baker.

Since the new year’s upon us, many people have resolutions to eat better. I know that’s a constant goal of mine and something I am able to stick to pretty well…. most of the time! But every once in a while you need a break, an indulgence of sorts.

This recipe aims to fill that void – a strawberry shortcake made with minimal sugar and whole wheat pastry flour. Plus it’s topped with a fresh basil whipped cream. It’s sweet and rich without being “bad for you.”

Let’s run through the ingredients and techniques and then get to the recipe. My favorite part about this dessert is the fresh strawberries. I live in South Louisiana and we’re already getting beautiful, sweet strawberries this season.

Louisiana’s temperate winter climate makes for perfect strawberry growing weather. Our strawberry season starts in late December and runs through the spring, around April to May. After that, it’s much too hot for the little beauties and we move into blueberry and blackberry seasons.

When strawberries are fresh and ripe, very little sugar needs to be added. My recipe here calls for only two tablespoons of sugar to be added to the berries. If you’re using under-ripe berries, you may need more sugar to impart the right level of sweetness.

The berries pictured above were sweet and delightful – hardly any sugar was needed. Besides sweetening, the sugar also acts to soften the berry and produce a sauce by coaxing liquid from the berry.

After about an hour of sitting in the sugar, a little syrup will start to form. The more sugar you use, the more liquid will be coaxed out.

While I love the strawberries, I really like the shortcake too. Shortcake gets its name from the type of dough that it is. It’s a short dough, which means it’s light on the leavening agent and heavy on the flour, fat and sugar.

Short doughs tend to have a crumbly texture, like this shortcake. They’re tender too because they aren’t worked very much, which means the gluten in the flour remains less developed.

Below you can see the short dough transform from a slab of dough to its final biscuit-like state. Shortcakes are very similar to biscuits, just a bit more dense.

For this recipe, I used whole wheat pastry flour since I was trying to make it more healthy. I used pastry flour instead of all purpose because pastry flour contains less gluten and is a “softer” flour overall.

Whole wheat flours tend to be less soft than white wheat flours anyway so that change to pastry flour was necessary since we went whole wheat. If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, use half whole wheat, half white all purpose flours OR just all white all purpose flour.

You’ll likely need to adjust your liquids. With white flour you should only need one cup of cream, not the additional two tablespoons I list below. Whole wheat flours are “drier” than white wheat so it does take a little more liquid to make them moist and palatable.

Finally for our topping – fresh basil whipped cream. Basil and strawberries are a natural flavor pairing so I figured throwing some fresh basil into the whipped cream would work nice. And guess what, it did! We use only a tablespoon here, and it works really well.  The basil flavor is well-balanced with the sweetness of the strawberries.

Making fresh whipped cream is so much better than the store bought kind. However, there are a few keys to making great homemade whipped cream. The first is to use chilled equipment and ingredients.

Freezing the mixing bowl and whisk attachment will help produce fluffier, more stable whipped cream.  Keeping the heavy cream chilled too helps. Adding just a little powdered sugar to the cream helps to stabilize the mixture as well.

Finally, whisking the cream for just the right amount of time helps too. Overworking the cream will get you something that looks like butter and water.  Running the cream on high in a stand mixer for about three minutes will produce great whipped cream.

When whipped cream is getting overworked, it will start to look grainy. It’s still perfectly edible but not silky and smooth like properly whipped cream.

And there you have it – strawberry shortcake. Overall, it’s a pretty simple recipe with very few ingredients. Cutting out some of the sugar of a normal recipe and using whole wheat flour makes this a bit healthier than the average strawberry shortcake. I know I can eat a serving of this pretty much guilt-free. I hope you can too and that you enjoy this recipe.  Thanks!

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE WITH BASIL WHIPPED CREAM

Prep Time: 35 minutes     Cook Time: 25 minutes     Yield:  8 servings

Ingredients

Strawberries:

  • 1 lb strawberries, stems removed and quartered
  • 2 T sugar

Basil Whipped Cream:

  • 3/4 c cream
  • 2 T powdered sugar
  • 1 T roughly chopped fresh basil

Short Dough:

  • 2 3/4 c wheat pastry flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 7 T unsalted butter
  • 1 c + 2 T heavy cream

Method

Strawberries:

  1. Prepare the strawberries – first remove the stems and leaves. Next cut the core off the top. Finally, quarter the strawberry.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss the quartered berries with sugar.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Basil Whipped Cream:

  1. Chill the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for at least half an hour before using.
  2. Once equipment is chilled, place cream, powdered sugar and basil in the mixer.
  3. Whip on high until thickened, about three minutes.  Place in the fridge until ready to use.

Short Dough:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 ºF
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into food processor. Pulse to blend.
  3. Add the butter and pulse five times to mix.
  4. Finally, add the cream and pulse until combined, about 5 more times.
  5. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead three times to combine. If dough is moist, add a little more flour.
  6. Cut with 3″ biscuit cutters, and place on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  7. Brush top of shortcake with cream and sprinkle with a little sugar.
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes and cool completely before using.
  9. Once cooled, top with strawberries and basil whipped cream and serve.

Thank you Addie!! Doesn’t that look amazing? I can’t wait for strawberries to be in season in Indiana so I can make some of my own…
Want to check out more from Addie? Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more wonderful recipes like this!

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