Strawberry Shortcakes with Lemon Curd Whipped Cream
Everyone needs the Best Strawberry Shortcake Recipe and this is it! These shortcakes are fresh yet decadent at the same time.  They boast an additional flavor burst to the traditional dessert you have to taste to believe. This easy Strawberry Shortcake recipe is loaded with fresh sugar kissed strawberries, generous dollops of sweet citrus Lemon Curd Whipped Cream all piled on light, tender cake-like biscuits for the best Strawberry Shortcake recipe ever!  These Strawberry Shortcakes are also a great make ahead dessert AKA ultimate stress- free entertaining dessert!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 60minutes
Cook Time
12minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 servings 60minutes
Cook Time
12minutes
Strawberry Shortcake
Ingredients
Strawberries
  • 2 1/2pounds strawberries, hulled(8 cups)
  • 6tablespoons granulated sugar
Biscuits
  • 1/2cup plus 1 tablespoon half and halfsee DIY notes
  • 1 large whole egglightly beaten
  • 2cups all-purpose flour
  • 3tablespoons sugar, plus 2 for sprinkling
  • 1tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 8tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces, chilled
  • 1 large egg WHITE onlylightly beaten
Lemon Curd (optional but recommended) See notes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg YOLK only
  • 3tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 3tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1pinch salt
Whipped Cream
  • 1cup heavy creamchilled
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Lemon Curd (may also use store-bought): Whisk egg and egg yolk in medium bowl, set aside. Melt butter in medium metal or glass bowl set over large saucepan of simmering water. To this metal bowl, whisk in sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt; gradually whisk in egg mixture. Whisk until thick and thermometer inserted into curd registers 178°F to 180°F (it will continue to thicken upon standing). Transfer to small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 30-45 minutes (until cold) or refrigerate for up to 24 hours in an airtight container until ready to use.
  2. Strawberries: Using potato masher, mash 2 cups strawberries in a large bowl. Cut all remaining strawberries into 1/4 inch thick slices. Stir sliced strawberries and sugar into crushed strawberries. Refrigerate mixture until sugar has dissolved and strawberries are juicy, at least 30 minutes up to 24 hours. The longer the strawberries chill, the more juices they release. If you chill closer to 24 hours, you may need to drain off some excess juices although you definitely keep some (seeps into the biscuits – yum!).
  3. Biscuits: In a large bowl, whisk half-and-half and whole egg together. Set aside.
  4. In food processor, pulse flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt until combined, about 5 pulses. Scatter butter over top and pulse mixture until it resembles coarse meal, about 15 pulses. Stir flour mixture into half and half/egg until large clumps form. Form the dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface, parchment paper or nonstick mat.
  5. Pat dough into 9×6-inch rectangle about 3/4 inch thick. Using floured 2 1/4 inch round cutter (you can use the top of a glass), stamp out 6 dough rounds. Reshape dough and cut out 2 more. Space rounds at least 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper or nonstick mat lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  7. Brush tops of rounds with egg white and sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar (it will seem like a lot of sugar but is SO good). Bake at 425 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until tops of biscuits are golden. Transfer biscuits immediately to wire rack to cool. If not using immediately, store in airtight container once cooled.
  8. Lemon Curd Whipped Cream: Beat heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract on medium low for 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes. Gently fold cooled Lemon Curd into Whipped Cream until completely combined.
  9. Assemble: Split each biscuit in half and place biscuit bottom on individual plates. Spoon equal portions of strawberries onto biscuits followed by dollops of Lemon Curd Whipped Cream, then place biscuit tops. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

*Total Time does not reflect cooling Lemon Curd or Strawberries as this will vary.

Traditional Whipped Cream

If you would like to skip the lemon curd and make plain whipped cream, you will need to increase the proportions and add lemon zest:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Tips and Tricks

  • Half and half substitute: In order to not have to purchase both half and half and the heavy cream required for the whipping cream – you can make your own half and half with half milk and half heavy cream.
  • Store bought lemon curd: If you want to skip making homemade lemon curd, you can use store-bought.  Lemon curd is usually located by the jams/jellies. Trader Joes has a great one.
  • Sliced strawberries: Don’t slice the strawberries too thin, because we want them to hold their shape.
  • Macerate strawberries: Macerating is the process in which the sugar draws moisture out of the strawberries and dissolves to make a syrupy strawberry sauce. If your strawberries are super sweet you can use less sugar, but only if they’re really sweet.
  • Chill strawberries: Give the macerating some time! You can chill the strawberries for as little as 30 minutes, but the strawberries will become much juicier, the longer the macerate – 4 hours seems to be about right.  You don’t want to macerate longer than 24 hours or the strawberries can become mushy.
  • Remove excess liquid. The longer you macerate the strawberries, the more liquid they will release. If you macerate your strawberries closer to 24 hours, they will release excess liquid.  Simply pour off some of the liquid and keep the rest.
  • Don’t overmix dough: Stir flour mixture into half and half/egg until large clumps form.   You don’t want to overmix or your biscuits will be flat and dense instead of light and fluffy.
  • Work quickly: Once the dough is formed, you want to work quickly otherwise the dough will warm and the butter will melt.  We want the butter to melt while baking and NOT while rolling.  As the butter melts during baking, small air pockets are created, giving the biscuit its flakiness.
  • Flour cutter: Dip whatever biscuit cutter you use in flour before using each time so it doesn’t stick to the dough.
  • Press firmly: Make sure you firmly press straight down with the cutter each time so you make a clean cut and don’t tear the surrounding dough or twist the dough. Twisted dough will bake up slanted and unevenly.
  • Bake immediately: After chilling briefly, bake the biscuits immediately.  Dough with baking powder should be baked within an hour of mixing, the sooner, the better, otherwise the baking soda will lose its efficacy.
  • Don’t over-bake: Bake just until the tops of the biscuits are lightly golden because the bottoms will bake more quickly than the tops.  Overbaking can result in dry shortcakes and burnt bottoms.
  • Stir lemon curd constantly: The key now is to whisk constantly until thickened.  Whisking can take 10 minutes – so pull up a chair and be patient.
  • How thick? The lemon curd should be thick enough to cling to your spoon. The lemon curd will continue to thicken in the refrigerator, so don’t be alarmed if it’s not as luscious as you would like.  You don’t want it too thick or it will harden in the refrigerator into a brick and be unusable. If this happens, you can attempt to salvage it by placing it in a glass bowl and placing the bowl in a bowl of simmering water until it softens.

Make ahead

I find it easiest to make components of the Strawberry Shortcake recipe a day in advance because both the strawberries and lemon curd require time to chill.  I make everything except the whipped cream ahead of time, then the day of serving, I whip the cream and fold in the lemon curd – easy peasy!

  • Heavy cream: the cream can be whipped up to 2 hours ahead of time and refrigerated, covered. If necessary, lightly rewhip before using.
  • Lemon curd:  can be made up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Biscuits: The shortcakes can be baked up to 2 days ahead of time, allowed to cool completely, then stored in an airtight container. They can also be made early in the morning and left out until ready to assemble that day.  For best results, I like to warm the biscuits at 350°F in the oven just before serving for slightly warmed, flaky results.
  • Strawberries: the fruit can be chopped up to three days ahead of time and tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator.  The strawberries can be combined with sugar, covered, and chilled up to 24 hours ahead of time.

Can I Freeze strawberry shortcake?

You can freeze elements of the strawberry shortcake.  Both the biscuits and lemon curd freeze well, but I don’t recommend freezing the strawberries (they will become too soft) or the whipped cream.

To freeze Shortcakes:

  • Cool.  Cool shortcakes completely on a wire rack.
  • Bulk freeze.  Place rack in the freezer and freeze shortcakes until solid. Place frozen biscuits in a freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  • Individual freeze.  Skip the flash freezing step, and instead wrap biscuits individually in freezer wrap then add to a freezer bag. 
  • Freeze.  Freeze for up to 3 months.

TO Defrost shortcakes:

  • Refrigerator: let the biscuits thaw in the refrigerator overnight. 
  • Microwave:  microwave on HIGH for 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Oven: wrap shortcakes in a single layer in foil (so they don’t dry out) and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20 minutes.

To freeze lemon curd:

  • Transfer lemon curd to freezer safe container.
  • Let lemon curd cool completely in the refrigerator. 
  • Freeze for up to 1 year.
  • To thaw, transfer lemon curd to the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  NEVER microwave.