About this recipe:This streamlined version of an American classic makes an impressive summer dessert or centrepiece for a special tea table. Based on a quick, light scone mixture and filled with Greek-style yogurt, whipped cream and lots of juicy fresh strawberries, it is easy to make and simply irresistible.
250 g (8½ oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75 g (2½ oz) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp icing sugar
340 g (12 oz) strawberries
90 ml (3 fl oz) whipping cream
85 g (3 oz) Greek-style yogurt
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:15min › Ready in:30min
Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF, gas mark 7). Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the caster sugar and make a well in the centre.
Mix together the egg, milk and vanilla extract, and pour into the dry ingredients. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the liquid, then bring the mixture together with your hand to form a soft dough. Gently pat the dough into a smooth ball and turn it out onto a floured surface.
Roll out the dough into a 19 cm (7 1/2 in) round. Transfer it to a greased baking sheet and bake for 10–15 minutes or until well risen, firm and browned on top. Slide the shortcake onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
Using a large serrated knife, slice the shortcake horizontally in half. With a large fish slice, lift the top layer off and place it on a board. Cut into 8 equal wedges, leaving them in place. (If you like, for an attractive finish, trim a fraction off each cut so that the wedges are slightly smaller.) Place the bottom layer on a serving plate.
For the filling, reserve 8 whole strawberries, then hull and thickly slice the remainder. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Stir the yogurt until smooth, then gently fold it into the cream until evenly blended.
Spread the cream mixture thickly over the bottom shortcake layer and cover with the sliced strawberries, pressing them into the cream.
Sift the icing sugar over the top of the shortcake wedges. Carefully put the wedges into place on top of the shortcake. Slice each reserved strawberry lengthways, leaving the slices attached at the stalk end, then open the slices slightly to fan them out. Place a strawberry fan on each wedge of shortcake. Eat within a few hours of assembling.
Each serving provides
C * A B1, B2, B6, B12, calcium
Strawberries contain a phytochemical called ellagic acid, which is believed to help protect against cancer. In traditional medicine, strawberries are believed to purify the digestive system and act as a mild tonic for the liver. * The action of whipping incorporates air into cream and increases its volume, thus making a modest amount go a long way.
Some more ideas
Raspberries, blueberries and stoned cherries can all be substituted for the strawberries. * To make a spiced shortcake with autumn fruit, add 1 tsp ground cinnamon to the scone mixture with the caster sugar. Halve, stone and slice 225 g (8 oz) ripe plums. Reserve 8 neat slices for decoration, then use the rest to top the cream in place of the strawberries. Reserve 8 blackberries from 225 g (8 oz) and press the remainder into the cream with the plums. Finish as in the main recipe, decorating the top of the shortcake wedges with the reserved plum slices and blackberries. * Instead of whipped cream and yogurt, fill the shortcake with 300 g (10½ oz) fromage frais flavoured with 2 tsp icing sugar and ½ tsp pure vanilla extract.