Deconstructed Strawberry Shortcakes

strawberry shortcake deconstructed with strawberry coulis and vanilla biscuits
Diana Rattray
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Ratings

These deconstructed strawberry shortcakes have all the flavor of classic strawberry shortcakes with unique assembly. Elements include sweet vanilla biscuits, a chilled strawberry coulis, whipped cream, and sliced fresh strawberries. Serve the strawberries and coulis in dessert dishes with the biscuits on the side along with extra coulis and sweetened whipped cream. Or make a strawberry shortcake bar and let guests construct their own desserts.

The strawberry coulis can be made a day in advance with fresh or frozen strawberries.

What You'll Need

  • For the Strawberry Coulis:
  • 1 pound strawberries (fresh hulled or frozen whole, about 3 to 4 cups)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 a lemon (juiced, about 2 tablespoons)
  • For the Vanilla Biscuits:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter (chilled and cut into small pieces)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • For the Whipped Cream:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pints strawberries (fresh)

How to Make It

 The Coulis

  1. Put the fresh or frozen strawberries in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of granulated sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a full boil and continue boiling for 1 minute. Pour the hot strawberry mixture into a blender. Place a folded dish towel over the blender lid and hold it down firmly. Blend until the mixture is smooth. If you happen to scale the recipe up, don't fill the blender more than about one-third full. 
  1. Strain the strawberry coulis through a mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.

The Vanilla Biscuits

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; blend well with a whisk or spoon. Work the pieces of chilled butter in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Measure the 3/4 cup of heavy cream and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract; stir to blend.
  4. Pour the cream and vanilla mixture into the first mixture and stir gently until it begins to hold together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead gently just until you have a soft dough. Pat or roll it out to a 1/2-inch thickness.
  6. Cut the biscuits out with a 1 1/2 or 2-inch ​biscuit or cookie cutter and arrange them on the parchment-lined baking sheet.
  7. Gather up dough scraps and re-roll, handling the dough as little as possible. Continue cutting out biscuits.
  8. Whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush over the unbaked biscuits. 
  9. Sprinkle coarse or decorating sugar over the egg-washed biscuits. 
  10. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until the biscuits are lightly browned.
  11. Remove to a rack to cool.

The Whipped Cream

  1. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the 2 cups of heavy cream to soft peaks.
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Continue beating to stiff peaks.

The Strawberries and Assembly

  1. Hull the strawberries and rinse under cold running water. Slice them into a bowl and refrigerate until serving time.
  2. Assemble the strawberries in dessert glasses with some of the coulis and whipped cream. Serve the vanilla biscuits on the side along with any extra coulis, berries, and whipped cream. Or let guests assemble their own desserts.

    Tips

    Add some fresh blueberries for a red, white, and blue Fourth of July dessert.