Ideas in Food vs. Strawberry Shortcake: The Full Recipe

Our reinvented strawberry shortcake: enhanced with freeze-dried strawberries, infused with lemon grass and ginger, and topped with a refreshing buttermilk granita. [Photographs: Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot]

All week, we've been sharing components of our reinvented strawberry shortcake recipe. Today, we tie them all together into the final, flavor-packed dish. Just to quickly review, here's what we did:

First, we rethought the biscuit. As much as we love a good buttery biscuit, we felt that they too often overwhelm the juicy strawberries, which—at least in our eyes—should be the real stars of the dish. So instead, we turned to choux pastry, the same pastry used to make ├ęclairs, cream puffs, and croquembouche.

Light and airy, choux offers just enough pastry to soak up strawberry juices, but not so much that the dish becomes heavy. And to add more flavor, we infused the choux pastry with aromatic ginger and lemongrass. Plus, the airy center of each puff is the perfect container for flavorful strawberry pudding (one of three vehicles we created to amp up the strawberry flavor).

And speaking of vehicles for strawberry flavor, the strawberries were the next part we worked on. As we already mentioned, the strawberries should be the main focus of the dessert. But all too often, fresh strawberries don't taste as good as they should. To remedy that, we decided to make a strawberry sugar using freeze-dried strawberries, which packs plenty of strawberry punch.

The sugar the gets used three ways: as the flavoring in the strawberry pudding (which gets piped into the choux puffs), as the macerating agent on fresh strawberries, and finally as a final dusting on the tops of the choux puffs. (Make extra: It's also the secret to great strawberry milk.)

The last part of strawberry shortcake that we wanted to upgrade was the cream. Our solution was a buttermilk granita, light, refreshing, and just tangy enough to brighten all the flavors on the plate.

The best part is that as good as all these components are together, they're also all delicious as stand-alone desserts.

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