These are a new take on the quintessential American strawberry shortcakes, which are scone-like biscuits sandwiched with cream and fresh strawberries. If grown-ups want to be grown up then a splash of Amaretto is just the ticket, but of course you can leave it out if you prefer. Adding some poached rhubarb goes wonderfully with the strawberries, too.
Place the flour, baking powder, butter and soft light brown sugar in a bowl and rub everything together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also use a food processor for this. Add the vanilla and crème fraiche with the water and mix together with a round-bladed knife until it starts to clump together into a soft dough, then bring it all together with your hands into a ball. Tip the ball out onto a lightly floured work surface and squish it down with your hands or a rolling pin until it is about 2cm thick. Using the cookie cutter, stamp out twelve rounds and place them on the prepared baking sheet as you go.
Place the rounds in the oven and
Meanwhile, make the fruit filling. Cut the strawberries into slices and place them in a bowl with the granulated sugar and Amaretto. Stir to combine and then leave to sit at room temperature to allow the flavours to develop while the shortcakes are baking.
Once the shortcakes have cooled down, make the crème Chantilly. Put the cream, vanilla and icing sugar in a bowl and whisk until the mixture thickens and reaches soft peaks. You want it to be shiny but not super stiff. If you over-whisk it, add ½ tablespoon of milk to thin it out a little.
Put a shortcake onto each plate and spread over half of the crème Chantilly. Arrange the sliced strawberries on top, draining off and discarding excess liquid, then cover with the rest of the crème Chantilly and place a shortcake on top of each one. Add a light dusting of icing sugar to serve.
© Lorraine Pascale, 2017. Images: © Myles New, 2017.