A couple weeks ago, and because I admittedly ask my husband to pick up strawberries on his way home far more often than I have an exact “agenda” for them besides, you know, breakfast, lunch, and dinner — I made the strawberry shortcake recipe in the archives. These famed shortcakes — my version is adapted from Claudia Fleming and Russ Parsons, but this same approach was favorite by James Beard and more, I suspect they all hung out together — are unique in that instead of using eggs or just egg yolks, they use the yolks of two hard-boiled eggs. This allows the yolks to do their wonders (golden color, velvety texture) without ostensibly toughening the dough. It’s all very sound. It tastes very good. And it is the reason that I make shortcakes approximately once every four years.
Shortcakes, in the biscuit/scone category of “bakes” (so help me, I’ve fallen into a GBBO rabbit hole and I never want to leave), are quick things, or they should be. They should take 5 minutes to assemble, 15 minutes to bake, and once they’re cool, they should be split and immediately heaped with macerated fresh berries and an unholy amount of whipped cream. This recipe in the archives — requiring that you’ve already made, cooled, and stashed away hard-boiled eggs — begs to differ. Still, a little extra work isn’t always a deal-breaker if the results are otherworldly, but this time, everything bothered me: the taste of baking powder, which isn’t usually an issue, was overwhelming. The cakes weren’t very tall, but quite crumbly. They didn’t have much of an edge or color to them at all, and to top it all off, I’m sorry to any person I’ve left wanting in the past, but half a pound of strawberries is woefully insufficient for kinds of shortcakes I like to eat and share. I like ones that spill, that cannot and will not be limited to the confines of a biscuit half.