Strawberry shortcake never tasted so good — or so nuanced. Heavy cream is steeped with basil then whipped, infusing it with its essence. Cover the cream with plastic wrap while it steeps to ensure that the basil flavor doesn’t evaporate.
- PREP: 30 MINS
- TOTAL TIME: 8 HOURS 40 MINS
- SERVINGS 8
- 2 1/4 cups cold heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons, for brushing
- 20 large basil leaves, plus 1/3 cup small or torn basil leaves
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more if needed
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups sliced strawberries (1 pound 4 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Bring 1 1/2 cups cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bruise large basil leaves by hitting repeatedly with the dull side of a knife, and stir into cream. Remove from heat, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let steep for 25 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing solids to extract liquid. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 5 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, the baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers. (The largest pieces should be the size of small peas.)
Whisk together 3/4 cup heavy cream, the eggs, and vanilla. Stir into flour using a fork until ingredients are moistened but not fully incorporated. (Do not overmix.)
Turn dough out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pat into a 9 1/2-inch circle. Brush dough with remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
Bake until light golden brown and just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, macerate strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, plus more if needed, depending on sweetness, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour.
Toss berries with small basil leaves. Whisk basil cream with confectioners’ sugar in the chilled bowl of a mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Mound basil cream on shortcake. Spoon berries with juice over top.