Strawberries are the first local fruit to roll out in the spring, and there is truly nothing like a strawberry right off the vine. I'm dying to go strawberry picking, but for the meantime, pints of berries from the farmers markets that are just starting to open are just as good. And the perfect showcase for perfect strawberries is strawberry shortcake.
The best part of these strawberry shortcakes, though, was the whipped cream. It was the first time I had made whipped cream since getting my KitchenAid Mixer, and it was the easiest process ever. In the past, whipped cream would take upwards of 15 minutes, although it always felt more like 30, listening to the beaters of the hand mixer whapping against the side of the bowl. That cream was always underwhipped until it was suddenly curdled, never hitting that magical "stiff peaks" stage that's always spoken of. But this whipped cream? Three minutes from start to finish, and the addition of vanilla made it utterly heavenly. I could (and did) just eat it with a spoon.
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour in cream and mix until just incorporated. Turn out onto a piece of wax paper. Knead dough lightly, folding it in on itself to create layers. Using wax paper will allow you to knead the dough without adding extra flour. Pat dough into a rectangle about an inch thick and cut into 8 equal pieces.
Arrange biscuits evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Rotate pan halfway through. Cool biscuits on a wire rack.
Vanilla Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla paste in a stand mixer. Mix together on medium-low for about a minute until frothy. Whip on high for 2-3 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. Do not overwhip or you'll get butter.
1 quart (about 1 1/2 pounds) fresh strawberries
1-2 Tbsp sugar
Wash strawberries and pat dry. Slice berries thinly. In a mixing bowl, sprinkle strawberries with 1 Tbsp sugar and stir. Add additional sugar if berries are tart. Refrigerate for at least an hour before use to allow a syrup to form.
Split biscuits in half and place bottoms on dessert plates. Top with a big dollop of whipped cream. Divide strawberries between the biscuits. Place tops of biscuits on the strawberries, then add another big dollop of whipped cream.