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Basil-Infused Strawberry Shortcakes

My summer is never complete until I dive into a plate of strawberry shortcake while I sit in my backyard enjoying the...

My summer is never complete until I dive into a plate of strawberry shortcake while I sit in my backyard enjoying the breeze. I’ve given this backyard barbecue favorite a playful touch by adding basil to the strawberry topping. That hint of basil gives the dessert an added dimension that tastes of summer to me. — Jackie Sappington

Recipes and Photos from HEARTLANDIA by Adam and Jackie Sappington. Copyright © 2015 by Adam Sappington and Jackie Sappington. Photography © 2015 by John Valls. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 Teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 Cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into half-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
  • 3/4 Teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 8 Cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus one teaspoon
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • Whipped cream, for serving


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix on medium speed to combine. Add the butter and mix until it is reduced to the size of peas, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix until combined, about 2 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a clean, lightly floured work surface. Press the dough together to form it into a rectangle. Take the far end of the rectangle and fold the dough in half over itself. Press down on the folded mass and give the dough a quarter turn. Repeat the folding-and-turning process for three turns. (This process makes layers in the dough that create nice flaky shortcakes.) Shape the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the strawberries with the granulated sugar, lemon juice, and basil and stir to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the strawberries macerate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. On a clean and lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick circle. Cut the circle into 8 wedges. Arrange the wedges on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the wedges with the cream and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove the shortcakes from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Cut the shortcakes in half along the equator and place one bottom half on each of eight plates. Spoon the strawberries over the shortcakes, dividing them equally and reserving a few spoonfuls for the top. Top each serving with a generous spoonful of whipped cream. Set the top halves of the shortcakes over the whipped cream and strawberries. Garnish with another dollop of whipped cream and a few more strawberries and serve immediately.