We sometimes eat dessert as a snack on Christmas day, rather than just after the meal. These shortcakes are a new favourite, though they’re really nice in a bowl full of strawberries and cream, too. I like to use duck eggs, but you don’t need to.
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar, plus extra, to dust
- 100 g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla essence
- 1 large lemon, zested
- 200 g (1⅓ cups) plain flour
- ⅛ tsp baking powder
- 150 ml pouring cream
- 2 tsp elderflower cordial (see Note)
- 2 tsp pure icing sugar
- 500 g strawberries, hulled, quartered
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease 2 x 12-hole gem scone pans or similar and dust with sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 5 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and mix to combine.
Fold in flour and baking powder and mix until just combined. Spoon mixture into gem scone pans, leaving a little room for the mixture to expand. It’s neater if you flatten the top, but I don’t bother.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes or until starting to brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in pans, then transfer to a wire rack.
Meanwhile, whip cream with elderflower cordial and icing sugar to soft peaks. Top each shortcake with a spoonful of cream and a piece of strawberry to serve.
• Elderflower cordial is available from supermarkets.
Photography Alan Benson. Food preparation Sadie Chrestman. Styling Michelle Crawford.
As seen in Feast magazine, Dec/Jan 2014, Issue 38.