When I first got Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking Chez Moi, I went through all of the pages and earmarked the recipes that I wanted to try. The photo for the Strawberry Shortcakes Franco-American Style in BCM looked so good that it was one of the first things on my list of recipes to try. It took half a year, but I finally made it. I'm disappointed that I didn't make these sooner! This "shortcake" is actually very easy to make: it's a basically a circle made of ladyfinger batter that's topped with whipped cream, roasted or fresh strawberries, and another ladyfinger circle. The good news is that the ladyfingers can be made well in advance. The bad news is that you'll want to eat them right away because they smell so good fresh out of the oven.
The ladyfinger batter is very easy to make. It just requires 4 basic ingredients and a stand mixer [to make your life easier].
This batter is very light and that is in part to there not being a lot of flour, and also because the flour is sifted through, aerating it. Whisking the dry ingredients probably would have worked, too.
I got my egg whites to room temperature quickly by filling a bowl with warm water, and setting my small bowl of egg whites in the larger bowl for a about a minute.
As soon as the egg whites got frothy, the sugar went in, little by little, until stiff peaks formed.
Some of the meringues were mixed into the egg yolks, just to lighten things up.
Then they were added back to the rest of the meringue mixture.
Then came the delicate step of folding the dry ingredients into the meringue mixture.
The batter was piped into 3-inch circles and sprinkled with powdered sugar a couple of times before going into the oven.
They didn't bake very long and didn't get much color, but that was exactly what was written in BCM.
While the cakes cooled, it was time to prepare the strawberries. Dorie said that either roasted strawberries or fresh strawberries would work for this recipe. I never thought of roasting strawberries before, and I never thought of adding cloves to strawberries either, so I of course had some reservations about going that route. I decided to make 2 batches of strawberries, having my fresh strawberries as my backup.
I prepared my first batch of strawberries with sugar and cloves. As they macerated, I started getting hints of the aroma of cloves. It smelled surprisingly good!
15 minutes later, the strawberries looked perfect. Into the oven they went!
I took them out of the oven after 25 minutes, and they were perfect. They still held their shape, but they were also very tender. The juices caramelized and the cloves complimented the strawberries nicely.
While the strawberries roasted, I made some whipped cream. I piped them high onto a lady finger circle and put some warm strawberries onto the mountain of cream.
As the warm roasted strawberries were spooned onto the cold whipped cream, the cream immediately started melting and the strawberries just slid down, leaving a trail of strawberry juice. A second lady finger circle topped the strawberries and cream, and it was ready to eat!
I did make use of the fresh strawberries, too. Both the roasted and fresh strawberries were delicious! There was just something a little more exciting with the roasted strawberries with cloves, in my opinion.
Strawberry Shortcakes Franco-American Style recipe on page 338 of Baking Chez Moi.