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Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcake

4 cups all-purpose flour
12 teaspoon kosher salt
1 12 tablespoons baking powder
14 cup granulated sugar
12 lb butter, cold and cut into 1-inch cubes (2 sticks)
1 12-2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 pints reddest strawberries (smaller berries are generally the sweetest)
3 cups granulated sugar (adjust for the sweetness of the berries and your taste)
1 12 cups heavy cream, very cold
14 cup granulated sugar
powdered sugar, for dusting


PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. TO MAKE the biscuits, sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Gently work in the butter with 2 knives or your hands, breaking it into pea-size pieces but taking care not to overwork the dough. Form a well in the center of the mixture, add 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk mixed with the baking soda, and lightly fold the mixture so that it's just sticky and the dry ingredients just moistened. If needed, add the additional buttermilk. The idea is to create layers so the butter will steam and serve as a leavening agent to help the biscuits rise. The less you handle the dough, the flakier the biscuits will be. ON A WORK SURFACE lightly dusted with flour, flatten the dough to 1 1/2-inch thickness. Using a flour-dusted cutter 2 1/2 inches in diameter, cut the dough into 6 or 8 biscuits. Set the biscuits touching each other in an ungreased pie tin so that they stay moist while they bake. Bake biscuits for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake; remember that the final 10 percent of the cooking will happen after they are removed from the oven. WASH and hull the strawberries, and cut them in half; if they are large, cut them in quarters. One hour before serving, combine the berries and the sugar. The berries will secrete a juice mixture that should not be gritty from the sugar. The sugar mixture should be of a syruplike consistency. TO PREPARE the topping, put the chilled heavy cream in a chilled bowl and whip with a whisk or an electric mixer. When the cream starts to thicken, add the sugar and whip to the desired consistency. Do not overwhip. THE BISCUITS should be served warm (prepare and chill the dough the day before, if you wish, and bake before serving) but not so warm that they cause the whipped cream to melt. TO ASSEMBLE, split the biscuits horizontally, and dust the top halves with powdered sugar. Place the bottom half of each biscuit on a dessert plate and top each with a portion of the strawberry mixture and some of the syrup. Top with a dollop of the whipped cream, and top each with a sugared biscuit top.

Source: www.food.com