Suzanne Goin, award-winning chef of the acclaimed Lucques restaurant in Los Angeles, created this elegant, updated version of strawberry shortcake to celebrate the start of strawberry season at our Farm Stand. Most of the work is in the shortcakes, but these can be made ahead and frozen, allowing you to bake them when it's convenient.
|4 tablespoons||unsalted butter (1/4 cup)|
|2/3 cup||heavy cream|
|1/3 cup||unsweetened cocoa (sifted)|
|1 1/2 cups||pastry flour|
|1 tablespoon||baking powder|
|1/3 cup||plus 2 tablespoons sugar|
|4 ounces||bittersweet chocolate (chopped)|
|1 tablespoon||heavy cream|
|1 1/2 pints||organic strawberries|
|1 3/4 cups||heavy cream|
Cut the butter into small cubes and place it in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Combine the cream and cocoa in a small pan and whisk over medium heat until the mixture boils. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Place the flour, 1/3 cup of the sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, and chopped chocolate in a food processor. Use the pulse function to combine them completely. The mixture should be crumbly and the butter should be fully incorporated. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients; combine gently.
Bring the dough together with your hands and turn it onto a floured workspace. Pat the dough into two 3/4-inch-thick circles. Don't overwork the dough! Use a large knife to cut the circles, first in half and then into 8 pie-shaped wedges each. Place the shortcakes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour. The shortcakes can be made up to a week ahead of time and kept frozen.
When you're ready to bake, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.
Brush the frozen shortcakes with the 1 tablespoon of cream and sprinkle them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until they start to color slightly around the edges.
To assemble the shortcakes: While the cakes are baking, choose the 4 most beautiful strawberries and cut them in half lengthwise, leaving the stem on. Set aside.
Remove the stems from the rest of the strawberries and cut them into 1/4-inch slices. Toss in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cream and then whip the remaining 1-1/4 cups.
When you're ready to serve, place one shortcake in the center of each of 8 shallow bowls. Reserve 1/4 cup of the whipped cream and divide the rest between the shortcakes. Scatter the sliced strawberries over the cream. Prop the remaining pieces of shortcake over the berries, offsetting slightly. Place a final dollop of cream on each shortcake and arrange one of the reserved berry halves atop each portion. Drizzle a bit of the unwhipped cream around each dessert and serve immediately.