Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Limoncello Strawberry Shortcake

I'm having one of those weeks, people. I'm getting ready to speak at Food & Wine Conference in Orlando this weekend, and I injured my finger this past weekend. I was washing dishes and managed to cut my finger pretty badly on the blade of my food processor. I managed to avoid stitches, but it's proving to be quite painful as it heals. My injury is keeping me out of the kitchen this week, so I'm re-sharing one of my favorite Summer desserts from last year: Limoncello Strawberry Shortcake! Strawberries are my favorite fruit, and they're at their peak of flavor during July. I love old-school strawberry shortcake, but wanted to create something special for the adults. I stayed true to the original strawberry shortcake that features a sweet biscuit, ripe strawberries, and homemade whipped cream. This adults-only Limoncello Strawberry Shortcake provides a lemony burst to every bite, and it's perfect for Summer parties!

If you’ve never had limoncello, it's a fabulous Italian lemon liqueur…and it’s downright addictive if you love citrus! I used this magical elixir to flavor my strawberries, as well as the whipped cream. To really amp up the lemon flavor, I also added lemon zest and a bit of lemon curd to my shortcake dough. The sweetly tart limoncello and lemon curd perfectly compliments the juicy strawberries without overwhelming them. The strawberries still take center stage here, but the lemon flavor profile works really nicely. This is my kind of dessert: simple to make, but gorgeous to look at and totally delish!

Limoncello Strawberry Shortcake
a Weekend Gourmet Original
Ingredients (for four shortcakes):
  • 16-ounce container organic strawberries, cut into bite-sized pieces [NOTE: I use Driscoll's strawberries]
  • 2 tbs. limoncello (lemon liqueur)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
For the whipped cream:
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • 2 tbs. limoncello
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
For the shortcakes:
  • 2 cups baking mix
  • 3 tbs. granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1/3 cup lemon curd
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Coarse sanding sugar
  • Powdered sugar
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425. Place the chopped strawberries, limoncello, and sugar in a large airtight container. Stir well to combine the ingredients, seal, and refrigerate. Let the berries hang out and macerate in the fridge for about an hour, while you prep the rest of the shortcake components. The berries will release their juices, forming a delicious syrup.
Step 2: Combine the shortcake ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir just until a soft dough forms. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or Silpat. Using a spoon, divide the dough into four equal-sized mounds and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each shortcake liberally with the sanding sugar. Bake the shortcakes for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. I rotated the pan halfway through baking to ensure even browning.
Step 3: Let the shortcakes cool for at least 20 minutes before assembling. This give you a pocket of time to make the whipped cream. Add the heavy cream, limoncello, and vanilla to a chilled bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip on low for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Turn off the mixer and add the powdered sugar. Combine on low for 30 seconds, then increase speed to med-high. Whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. This takes approximately 2-3 minutes longer.
Step 4: To assemble the dessert, cut the tops off the shortcakes with a serrated bread knife. Place the bottom half of the shortcake on a plate. Top with approximately ½ cup of the sweetened whipped cream, one quarter of the berries, and the top of the shortcake. Sprinkle the composed shortcake and the plate with powdered sugar. Serve immediately…and get ready for the compliments to start!
This lemon-infused strawberry shortcake is truly divine! The strawberries are juicy and sweet, with a distinct citrus punch from the addition of both limoncello and lemon curd. The shortcake has a tender, moist interior…somewhere between a biscuit and cake. It’s crusty outside, with a nice crunch from the coarse sanding sugar.

If you’ve never made whipped cream with powdered sugar, definitely give it a try. It’s my personal secret to long-lasting whipped cream. I find that powdered sugar provides more stability than granulated sugar, and it gives the cream a nice structural integrity. Add it all up, and you’ve got one fine strawberry shortcake. I made it more than once last Summer, and you can bet I'll be making it again this year while strawberries are in season and on sale!

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