Herbed Strawberry Shortcakes with Vanilla Paste Whipped Cream


4 pints strawberries, halved
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar

2 Cups heavy (whipping) cream
2 Tbsp Vanilla Paste
1 Tbsp sugar
6 shortcakes (see recipe below), for serving
6 whole strawberries, for garnish

2 Cups self-rising flour
2-1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 Cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 Cup milk
2 Tbsp heavy (whipping) cream
2 tsp Herbes de Provence


Make the shortcakes. Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly oil a baking sheet. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.

Add the butter. Using a pastry blender or, preferably, your fingers, “squish” the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture has the texture of a coarse meal. Add the milk and continue to mix just long enough for a very soft, rather sticky dough is formed. Add the herbes de Provence toward the very end. Do not overwork dough (butter needs to still be rather cold).

Use a wooden spoon to drop 6 equal-sized portions of shortcake dough onto the oiled baking sheet. Use your fingers to lightly shape the dough into rounds that are about 3 to 3-1/2 across. Before popping baking sheet in the oven, lightly brush the tops with a little heavy cream.

Bake cakes in the center of the oven, 15-20 min, or until tops of shortcakes are golden brown. Remove baking sheet from oven and allow shortcakes to cool on a wire rack.

Prepare the Strawberries. Place clean, hulled, halved strawberries in a good-sized bowl. Add lemon juice and sugar to the berries and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently toss, fully coating the fruit with sugar and juice. Set aside mixture for at least 1-1/2 – 2 hours, allowing fruit to macerate.

Just before serving, whip 2 Cups heavy cream with 1 Tbsp sugar and Vanilla Paste until the whipped cream holds soft peaks.

To serve: Slice off the top 1/3 of each shortcake.
Place each of the shortcake bottoms on individual dessert plates and top with 1/3 Cup of the sugared berries, then a spoonful of whipped cream. Cover with the shortcake “lid.”
Add another spoon of berries and juice, then a dollop of whipped cream.
Garnish each shortcake with a pretty whole strawberry, and drizzle with any leftover juice from the sugared fruit.

Adapted from Epicurious.