Makes 8-10 biscuits
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon orange zest (zest from apx. 1/2 a medium orange)
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 cup half & half mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or use buttermilk instead)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the shortening and butter and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or your hands, until mixture has an even consistency and lumps are no larger than pea size. Add the orange zest, vanilla and the half & half mixture and stir until the dry ingredients are incorporated and a dough is formed. Do not overmix.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to a 1-inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter or an overturned juice glass, cut out shortcakes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Reroll any scraps and cut again but avoid excessive handling or the dough will become tough.
Bake shortcakes for 15-20 minutes, or until biscuits are lightly browned and doubled in height. When finished, transfer shortcakes to a rack to cool.
1 pint fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
Wash strawberries, remove hulls and slice before placing in a large bowl. Using a fork, stir in sugar until combined and lightly press on a few of the berries to gently crush so they release their juices. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow juices and sugar to combine before serving.
Hint of Orange Whipped Cream
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice from half a medium orange
Place mixing bowl, beaters and whipping cream in the freezer for 10 minutes to get them very cold. Pour whipping cream into mixing bowl, add sugar and orange juice and beat on high using wisk attachment until fluffy peaks are formed. Do not overbeat cream.
To serve, split the shortcakes in half and place bottom half on a serving dish. Layer with sweetened berries and a dollop of whipped cream. Add top half of shortcake and top with additional strawberries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.