Shortcake Showcases Seasonal Fruit

Lindsay Wilson, Lifestyle Editor

A long winter filled with cozy sweaters and hot chocolate on chilly days has come to a close, as the sunny, warm days and budding green leaves signal spring and, most importantly, the return of delicious seasonal fruit. Now, favorites such as pumpkin, gingerbread, and eggnog are replaced with the fruity flavors of peaches, plums, watermelon, and berries. For a delicious spring and summer treat, try strawberry shortcake. Perfect for a causal after dinner dessert or the highlight of a successful dinner party or tea, strawberry shortcake is a go-to fruity pastry.
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, stemmed and quartered
5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Directions: Mix strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and refrigerate while juices develop, at least 30 minutes.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add heavy cream and mix until just combined. Place mixture in an ungreased 8-inch square pan and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove shortcake from pan and place on a rack to cool slightly. Cut into 6 pieces and split each piece in half horizontally.

Spoon some of the strawberries with their juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and then the shortcake top. Spoon more strawberries over the top and serve.

Whipped Cream: Using a mixer, beat the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest until soft peaks form, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Makes 6 to 7 pastries.