Strawberry shortcake with homemade biscuits and whipped cream

MAKE IT AHEAD: To save time during grilling get-togethers, says Whisk AVL owner Meagan Schearer, this strawberry shortcake can be made in advance and assembled before serving. Photo courtesy of Whisk AVL

No cookout would be complete without something sweet to enjoy before (or maybe better yet, during) fireworks. Pastry chef Meagan Schearer of Whisk AVL, which operates out of the Westville Pub’s recently expanded space on Haywood Road, was kind enough to share her strawberry shortcake recipe, which she makes with locally sourced berries, basil, flour and eggs.

The macerated strawberries in this dish will add a festive pop of color to your spread. And as a bonus, says Schearer, everything can be made ahead, “so you have time for other cookout duties.”

Biscuits

Can be made up to two days ahead, then warmed in the oven for 10 minutes at 350° before serving.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tablespoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and refrigerated until mixing
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix cubed butter, flour and leavening with salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until butter chunks become pea-sized. Add buttermilk and mix on low until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead one minute. Pat out onto floured surface to 3/4-inch thick. Cut with 3-inch biscuit cutter. Place on parchment-lined pan so biscuits are touching. Bake at 350° for 15- 18 minutes until golden brown.

Whipped cream

Can be made and refrigerated up to 24 hours ahead.

3 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip in stand mixer or hand mixer until soft peaks form, about five minutes.

Macerated basil strawberries

Can be macerated up to five hours before serving.

2 pounds fresh, local strawberries, rinsed and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup basil leaves (Genovese, purple or holy variety) and chiffonade into thin strips

Mix all ingredients with spatula. Let sit 10 minutes before assembly.

To assemble, split warm biscuit, top with macerated berry-basil mixture and a healthy scoop of whipped cream. Top with biscuit top and garnish with berries, whipped cream and a basil leaf.

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