Strawberry season is upon us, and for me, that means lots of opportunities to whip up my one of my all-time favorite spring dishes: strawberry shortcake. I know I’m not alone in my devotion to this dessert; in fact, I seriously question anyone who claims not to be head-over-heels for this classic combo. (If you want to diss strawberry shortcake, you’ll have to go through me first.)
That’s precisely what makes it perfect for a spring dinner party or a Mother’s Day brunch. Plus, it’s easy to give it your own spin to make it feel extra-special: In this Italian-inspired version, lemony ricotta cream and balsamic-mint strawberries elevate the Southern classic.
Get the recipe and see step-by-step photos after the jump.
Strawberry Shortcake Stacks With Ricotta Cream and Balsamic-Mint Berries
Adapted from Anne Thorton
If you’re planning a meal, you can make the ricotta cream the day before your event and the shortcakes and berry mixture up to 2 hours before you plan to serve them. Balsamic vinegar on strawberries might sound odd at first, but once you’ll try it, you’ll love how it brings out the sweetness in the berries and helps to create a strawberry “sauce” for the shortcakes.
What You’ll Need
For the Shortcakes:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing
1 lemon, zested
For the Berry Mixture:
4 cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs fresh mint
For the Ricotta Cream:
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Whipped cream, for serving
Mint springs, for serving
2-inch biscuit cutter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
For the Shortcakes
Pulse the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in the food processor, about 5 seconds. Add the cold butter cubes. Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
In a liquid measure, combine the heavy cream and lemon zest. Add the heavy cream-orange mixture to the dry ingredients in the processor and pulse just until moist clumps form. Flour your hands and gather the dough into a ball. On a floured surface, knead until dough just comes together, about 5 times. Roll the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out biscuit rounds using a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Cut out as many as you can, then gather the scraps and reroll to make the remaining rounds. You should have 12 rounds total.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the rounds on the sheet. Brush the biscuits with the remaining 2 tablespoons cream and sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over top.
Bake the biscuits until pale golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. (Note: Biscuits can be made 2 hours ahead.)
For the Ricotta Cream
Combine the ricotta cheese, sour cream, honey and lemon juice in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve shortcakes.
For the Berries
While the shortcakes bake, wash and hull (remove the stem) from the strawberries. Slice them lengthwise. Remove the mint leaves from their stems, ball them up and thinly slice. Add the sugar, balsamic vinegar and mint to the strawberries. Let the mixture stand for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Place one of the shortcake rounds on a plate. Spread a small dollop (about 1 tablespoon) of the ricotta cream mixture on top of the biscuit. Top with enough strawberries to cover the biscuit. Repeat once more, then top with whipped cream and a sprig of fresh mint. Then go ahead — dig in!
Find more gifts, entertaining tips and party ideas in our Mother’s Day inspiration collection.