|Uncle Andrew...there from the very|
|There for Mason always.|
Granted there’s no holiday in it for Uncle Andrew. In our house, he bakes the cake, which, all told, takes a total of 8 hours and 40 minutes to make. Mercifully, the prep time is just 30 of those minutes but still… However, this cake rewards its baker with a luscious, fresh berry-filling in a buttery shortcake that’s topped with the aroma of fresh basil leaves. Dip your fork into the whipped cream topping and savor the flavor of fresh basil whipped cream! Turns out Strawberries and Basil, like Strawberries and Balsamic, were made for each other. And that’s just about the taste. The look of the cake is equal to the flavors, those green basil leaves against the white and red background of cream and berries is Instagram-worthy. So make this cake this weekend and celebrate Uncle Andrew’s Day with your favorite uncles. They deserve every bite on their own special day.
Recipe for Strawberry Shortcake with Basil from Martha Stewart Serves 8. Takes 30 minutes to prep and 8 hours and 40 minutes of cooling and cooking.
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 of the berries, 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.
Shortcake is best served within 4 hours of baking but can be stored, untopped, at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Basil cream can be refrigerated for up to 1 day; whip just before using. Berries can macerate for up to 3 hours.