The article in the LA Times Food Section was long-winded, but I was committed to discovering if it was a good shortcake recipe: Orange-Flavored Shortcakes with Strawberries and Cream. As a kid, I tasted two versions of shortcake. One was made from Biscuick, which I don’t buy. The other was technically the outside of a Twinkie shaped as a little bowl. Add berries and you had “strawberry shortcake.” Preparing real shortcake would be a treat, and the berries right now are superb.
This recipe had one curious ingredient, hard cooked egg yolks, which added heft. These cakes are worth eating. And worth making, it wasn’t a difficult recipe by any means. For fun, the coarse sugar for dusting wasn’t something I would buy just for this, so I used red and yellow decorative cupcake sugar. Kinda cute. They came out heavier and flatter than I had hoped but maybe it was my preconditioned Twinkie expectation (or the goosed up photo in the paper). I whirled some Fat Free Sour Cream with confectioner’s sugar and that was it. Here is the recipe the way I made it:
Orange-Flavored Shortcakes with Strawberries and Cream
2 cups flour
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest (about 1 large orange)
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
Coarse sugar for dusting
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a food processor bowl, pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold cubed butter and egg yolks and pulse together just until the mixture has the texture of lightly moistened cornmeal. There may be a few pea-sized chunks of butter remaining.
Pour 3/4 cup heavy cream over mixture and pulse 4 to 6 times just to moisten the dough. Do not overmix or the dough will be tough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a “shaggy mess” (LA Times term). Knead 3 to 4 times to make it cohesive and then pat into a rough circle 6 to 7 inches in diameter and a fairly consistent 3/4 to 1 inch in thickness.
Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 6 wedges. Brush tops very lightly with heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with the coarse sugar.
Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake until risen and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes (I baked to 24 minutes). Turn the pan around halfway through to ensure even cooking. Remove to a cooling rack.
Strawberries and Cream
Per shortcake, slice 1 cup of washed and hulled strawberries
To 1/2 cup of light sour cream, add 1 tsp. confectioners’ sugar and blend well
Split shortcake in two, place bottom on plate and heap berries on top, replace top of shortcake and pour sweetened sour cream over all.