Note: New York chef Larry Forgione says that when James Beard first tasted Forgione's strawberry shortcake, the food guru pronounced: "There can be no dessert better, only fancier." After tasting Forgione's shortcake for ourselves, we had to agree. Most of us said we'd never tasted a better shortcake. The secret: hard-boiled egg yolk mixed into the dough. The recipe comes from Forgione's cookbook "An American Place" (William Morrow: 1996, $30), which was chosen as one of our favorite cookbooks of 1996.
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 hard-boiled egg yolks, mashed
2 tablespoons melted butter
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
3 pints strawberries, washed, hulled and halved or quartered (depending on size)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup whipping cream
Sift flour, 1/4 cup sugar and baking powder into bowl. Add chilled butter pieces. Using your fingertips, work butter quickly and lightly into flour until mixture is consistency of very fine crumbs of sand. Add cream and egg yolks and stir with fork until dough just comes together.
Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead briefly, just until smooth dough forms. Do not overwork. Pat or roll out dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Using floured 2 1/2- or 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 4 rounds of dough. Gather up dough scraps, reroll and cut out 2 more rounds.
Put rounds on lightly buttered baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake on middle rack of oven at 375 degrees until biscuits are golden brown and firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
Toss strawberries and sugar together in bowl. Whip cream several minutes until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate. Transfer biscuits to cooling rack and cool 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully split biscuits in half and set tops aside. Place bottom halves on dessert plates and heap strawberries onto them. Generously spoon whipped cream over strawberries and replace biscuit tops. Serve immediately with any remaining whipped cream on side.
Makes 6 servings. Each serving contains about: 642 calories; 421 mg sodium; 208 mg cholesterol; 44 grams fat; 57 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams protein; 0.96 gram fiber.