Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Recipe Testing: Laminated Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake

When I saw that the April Fantastical Food Fight focus was 'strawberry shortcake', I paused. The first thing that came to mind were these dolls from the 80s! I really disliked dolls; my grandmother tried and tried to get me fascinated with Barbie. But, when she bought me these dolls, I was moderately intrigued. I remember her being thrilled and she bought me every single doll in the series - Apple Dumplin, Rasberry Tart, Mint Tulip, Cherry Cuddler, and more. When I was a kid, I loved that the dolls' hair smelled. Now I wonder: What kind of awful chemicals made those dolls smell for so long!?!

image from
In any case, I started asking around. "What do you think of when I say 'strawberry shortcake?'" Friends and family all had differing answers. Some said the base was a sweetened biscuit; others were adamant that the base was a pound cake. Most intriguing to me was an angel food cake. But I decided to do more research and start recipe testing.

Turns out that William Shakespeare used it as a character's name, in the early 17th century, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: Alice Shortcake. And, according to Driscoll's, the first strawberry shortcake recipe appeared in an English cookbook as early as 1588. Since the early recipes were more like a pie crust or biscuit, I decided to give it a try.

I'll be honest: I'm not much of a biscuit person. They seem doughy and heavy...not very appealing. But everyone should still have a biscuit in their culinary wheelhouse I'm told. My Buttermilk-Black Garlic Biscuit is a nice savory option. Then I read an article about laminating biscuit dough and I imagined the layers in my Kouign Amann. Sold.

Laminated Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake 
makes about ten  3" square biscuits

Biscuit Dough
  • 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3 T warm water
  • 2 t (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 5 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 C butter, cold and cubed 
  • 2 C whole plain yogurt or buttermilk
  • 1/2 C butter, cold
  • light oil for greasing the bowl (I used canola)

  • unsweetened whipped cream
  • whipped cream with strawberry dust (pulverized freeze-dried strawberries)
  • fresh organic strawberries, sliced
  • strawberry dust  (pulverized freeze-dried strawberries) for garnish

Biscuit Dough
In a small mixing bowl, stir together sugar, 3 T warm water, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is bloomed and foamy, approximately 5 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Using your hands or a pastry blender, cut in cold, cubed butter until mixture is crumbly. Add yeast mixture and yogurt, stirring until dry ingredients are just moistened. 

Knead by hand a few times until dough comes together. Oil a large mixing bowl and place dough in bowl, turning so that it's completely covered in oil. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm spot until raised and puffy, approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Pound the 1/2 C butter into a rectangle, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate while the dough rises.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured piece of parchment. Gently roll dough into an 18x12-inch rectangle. Unwrap butter and place in center of dough. Fold dough into thirds, like a letter.

Roll dough to 1-1/2" thick. Rotate dough 90 degrees, and fold dough again into thirds, like a letter. 

Roll dough to a rectangle at 1-1/2" thickness, again. Cut dough into squares and gently separate the biscuits. Transfer to prepared sheet.

Bake until golden brown, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Serve warm with an array of toppings.

Let everyone assemble their own versions. I split mine in half and layered them with whipped cream, fresh strawberries, and a dusting of the strawberry powder.

These boys were so happy! R was sad that he missed out - he was at an all-day robotics meeting at school - but I did use the leftover biscuits to make something he did get to enjoy. More on that to come.

One critique: macerate the strawberries! These are too fresh. Okay. Next time.


  1. I loved strawberry shortcake growing up. The sweet and the doll/cartoon.

  2. Look at you jumping all over this! The biscuits look fabulous.

  3. These look out of this world! Can't wait to try them. Thanks so much.


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