Few things cause excitement the way a strawberry shortcake does. It’s a damn good party pleaser. But if you’re in a situation where you actually have to feed a party, individual shortcake assembly can be cumbersome. Instead, consider the self-serve strawberry shortcake casserole. It’s significantly less work, but with all the bright fruity flavours.
I’m talking about the kind of strawberry shortcake composed of tart, sweet berries, fluffy whipped cream, and buttery biscuits, instead of sponge cake layers. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn down the latter, but a biscuit has a lot more going on. It’s pillowy on the inside and crisp on the edges, and the coated with salty butter. That’s a carb I want to be friends with.
To make a strawberry shortcake casserole, you only need four components: biscuit dough, chopped, fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, and sweetened whipped cream. I used canned Pillsbury Grands biscuits, but a homemade biscuit dough would be a knock-out. Just be sure to bake it at the specified temperature in your biscuit recipe.
Arrange the biscuits evenly in a buttered 13 x 9-inch casserole dish and press them down and out slightly. Don’t try to cover every inch of the bottom, it’s actually quite nice when the fruit seeps down between the biscuits. In a small bowl, mix the chopped strawberries with the strawberry jam. Dollop this mixture directly onto the biscuit dough and spread it out and around to cover the surface of the biscuits. Pop this into a 190°C oven for about 20 minutes, or until the biscuits have risen and the jam is bubbling. If you stick a toothpick into a biscuit it should come out clean.
Allow this to cool completely. If you add whipped cream to the warm biscuits it’ll liquify, which is still delicious, but not quite the drama we’re looking for. Cover the entire surface of the cooled strawberry-baked biscuits with swirls of sweetened whipped cream, and top with a few whole, fresh strawberries.
The biscuits are tender and studded with juicy, roasted fruit, and the jam coats everything and imparts concentrated fruit flavour without adding extra water. Whipped cream does what it does best: adds contrasting texture, looks pretty, and accepts compliments. Besides tasting great, this casserole shortcake is something you can make several hours in advance, it’s easy to transport, and it’s casually served family-style. Tuck a serving spoon into it (or eat some yourself so guests know it’s ready), and let folks have at it. No need for pretty slices, just scoop up a big helping, and bask in summer’s glow.
Strawberry Shortcake Casserole
- 1 packet of buttermilk biscuits
- 2 cups of chopped, fresh strawberries
- 300g strawberry jam
- 400 ml heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Butter a 30 x 20 cm baking dish.
Arrange the biscuits in the baking dish and gently press them out to cover more surface area. Do not try to force the biscuits to cover the entire bottom of the baking dish.
In a small bow, combine the chopped strawberries and the strawberry jam. Mix them until the jam is well distributed. Spread this mixture all over the biscuit dough. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are risen and the jam is bubbling. A toothpick poked into the centre biscuit should come out clean. Let the dish cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. Whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract together until they form medium-stiff peaks. Cover the entire surface of the cooled strawberry-biscuits with whipped cream. Serve immediately, or keep in the fridge until serving. It tastes best eaten within 24 hours.
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