This is one of the first desserts I learned to prepare as a young pastry cook at the age of nineteen. I can still recall how challenging it was for me to get the crumb on the shortcake biscuit as perfect as that achieved by my first pastry chef, Noah Butter. Perhaps his last name gave him a certain magic. The deep strawberry flavor of the sauce, combined with the richness of the Pinot Noir, creates a perfect sangria flavor that plays off of the whipped crème fraîche. Even now, this seems like a simple preparation when I’m making it, but I’m still surprised by my love of the flavors.
- Yield: 8 Servings
- 8 Crème Fraîche Shortcakes
- 4 cups (1 kg) medium strawberries
- 2 recipes Warm Strawberry–Pinot Noir Sauce
- 1 recipe Crème Fraîche Chantilly
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Use a serrated knife to gently slice the shortcakes through the middle, taking care to not break them; they will be delicate and crumbly. Prepare the strawberries by cutting off the green hulls and, if large, cutting them in half lengthwise. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set the shortcakes, cut-sides down, on the parchment. Toast in the oven for 6 to 7 minutes. In a small skillet over medium heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Set out eight shallow bowls.
- Let the shortcakes cool for 2 minutes, until they are warm to the touch. Place the bottom half of a shortcake in the center of each bowl and put a generous dollop of chantilly in the center. Line the shortcake with strawberries standing up around the chantilly and gently push them into the cream to secure them. The chantilly should meet up with the strawberries and come up over the tops of the berries a little bit. Just before serving, sprinkle powdered sugar over the shortcake tops while they are still on the baking sheet and then place a top over the chantilly on each shortcake. Use a pitcher or ladle to pour ½ cup (100 ml) of the warm sauce around the edge of the bowl. Serve and enjoy. If you find that your shortcakes start to soak up the pinot noir sauce, don’t fret—this is a gateway to heaven!