James Beard, former culinary educator and cookbook author, is considered to be America’s “Father of Gastronomy.” His mother’s recipe for Strawberry Shortcake is one that never appeared in any of his cookbooks. He did share the recipe with a close friend who to this day has it on his restaurant menu in St. Louis (Chef Larry Forgione at An American Place.) The uniqueness of the recipe is that it calls for finely crumbled yolks of hard-boiled eggs verses fresh uncooked egg yolks.
I tried this recipe last weekend and it was a great success with my guests. The recipe calls for two hard-boiled eggs. After cooking up the entire 12-pack of eggs, I made deviled eggs with the remainder.
This is a clever way to create a delicate and moist shortcake without it tasting doughy or soggy. Many baking professionals have known this secret and incorporate this technique into their pastries. Now you can too!
(Recipe reprinted from the James Beard Foundation)
2 cups white all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
2 hard-boiled egg yolks, pushed through a zester or fine sieve
3/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 pints fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved or quartered
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
Sprigs of mint for garnish
Sift together the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the baking powder into a bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of the chilled butter pieces and, using your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mix until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Add the sieved hard-boiled egg yolks and the cream; gently mix until it the dough just comes together.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and gently knead to make a smooth dough (about two or three turns). Pat down the dough to make a 1-inch-thick round. Using a lightly floured 2 1/2-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out 6 shortcakes. Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of sugar. Place the shortcakes on a plate lined with waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Transfer the chilled shortcakes to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
While the shortcakes cool, prepare the fruit filling and whipped cream: place the strawberries in a glass bowl and add the sugar. Gently stir and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Whip the cream and sugar together in a medium bowl until the cream just begins to thicken.
Using a fork or serrated knife, cut the shortcakes in half lengthwise. Place the bottom halves on 6 plates and generously spoon the macerated fruit and juices over them. Top with a heaping dollop of lightly whipped sweetened cream. Top with the top halves of the shortcakes.
Add a mint leaf to each serving for garnish.