Alice Waters’ Strawberry Shortcake with Cream Biscuits. Hello, Lover.

Berries, Bread, Desserts, Spring / Wednesday, April 8th, 2009


So, you remember that scene in “Sex and the City” when Carrie spots those petal pink Christian Louboutin stilettos in a shop window and purrs, “Hello, Lover”? Because, no matter how impractical, she has to have those shoes. She sees herself in those shoes. She’s made a connection.

That was me with Alice Waters’ Strawberry Shortcake.

I’d been flipping through “The Art of Simple Food” since Mom gave it to me last Christmas, but I didn’t connect with anything until this morning, when I noticed this recipe and envisioned the spoonfuls of slightly sweetened strawberries and vanilla whipped cream spilling out of a just-cooled cream biscuit dusted with powdered sugar.

Oh, yes. I connected.

What’s different about Ms. Waters’ Strawberry Shortcake? The cream biscuits are light and crumbly,  just sweet enough, and they can soak in all of that lovely strawberry juice without turning to mush or cutting the roof of your mouth. As for the strawberries, Waters suggests an interesting twist: purée a fourth of them. Paired with the juice oozing from the sitting strawberries, the purée intensifies the strawberry flavor and transforms the liquid from a watery pink to a bright, beautiful red.

So, I think I’m going to skip the processed and the Peeps® this weekend and see what other simple wonders have been hiding inside this book. Yes, I’m finally ready to fall in love with a cookbook without pictures. Next stop: puberty!

Strawberry Shortcake

Adapted from Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food”

Makes 6

  • 4 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 6 baked 2-inch Cream Biscuits (recipe below)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries and sugar.
  2. Remove 1 cup of the strawberry mixture, and purée it in a blender or food processor. Return the purée to the rest of the strawberries; stir. Set aside at least 15 minutes.
  3. In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip together the cream, vanilla and sugar until it starts to form soft peaks.
  4. Slice the Cream Biscuits in half. For each biscuit, spoon the strawberry mixture onto the bottom half, and add a dollop of whipped cream. Top with the other biscuit half, and dust it with powdered sugar.

Cream Biscuits

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar (if using) and baking powder.
  3. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or your fingertips. The pieces should be the size of small peas.
  4. Measure cream; set aside 1 tablespoon. Add the remaining cream to the flour, and stir with a fork until the mixture just comes together. Lightly knead the dough a few times in the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board, and roll out about 3/4 inch thick.
  5. Cut six 2-inch circles or squares out of the dough. Reroll the scraps, if necessary.
  6. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and brush the tops with the tablespoon of cream.
  7. Bake for 17 minutes or until golden and done.

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35 thoughts on “Alice Waters’ Strawberry Shortcake with Cream Biscuits. Hello, Lover.

  1. What a perfect way to describe this dessert! It is totally "Hello, Lover"ish. Man, you have me reallllly wanting some strawberry shortcake right now. Plus, I think you've coined the next big baking phrase :)

    1. It's sooooooo good. Really. As soon as I have one, I'm thinking about when I can have the next one.

      And I'm going to wear that phrase out!

  2. I know, a cookbook without pictures is like…something really awful, but AW seems to somehow make it ok. I adore that ep of SATC. I think it's one of my favorites. The shortcakes look fantabulous. In the best way!

    1. Thanks! Isn't that funny? I guess photos provide that little dose of reassurance that we're doing it right.

  3. Rebecca, you are obviously a more evolved cook and person than I am to be able to love a cookbook without pictures. I am always torn by books without pictures–otherwise, how do you know something turned out correctly?! And don't forego Peeps–otherwise your digestive tract will not know it's Easter!

    1. I never got into Peeps®! My Easter fix comes from those little chocolate robin's egg candies. Addictive!

  4. I have trouble baking/cooking from a cookbook without pictures sometimes too. Glad you tried that strawberry shortcake because it looks amazing! I'll have to give it a shot next time I find some strawberries on sale!

  5. I've had a little trouble connecting with this book, too, so I'm glad to see you picture and recommendation. Looks DELICIOUS. I guess I am not evolved.

    1. Wasn't that a strange decision: to publish such a great cookbook without any photos? I'm sure it kept the costs down, but you never read anything from food bloggers about it.

    1. I know what you mean. The photos are like ads for the recipe, you know? If a recipe doesn't have a photo, I'm not sure that I can trust it.

  6. I personally keyed in on the Peeps reference! If you're not going to eat them, put them on a paper plate and stick them in the microwave for a minute and watch the fun! ;)

    1. That's what I've been doing with my Peeps® forever! Can't wait to indoctrinate the nephews this year. Thanks for reminding me!

  7. Strawberry shortcake used to be my favorite dessert as a child. I wonder why I never make it. I think I'll have to give your recipe a shot and curl up on the couch to a good chick flick.

    1. Fresh homemade strawberry shortcake is a simple, beautiful, indulgent thing. Now, make some, and I'll bring the movie.

  8. The art of simple food is my cooking BIBLE and I am totally making this next week!!! I was turned off initially because there are no pictures, but seriously, I have gotten past that and it is my go to recipe book! Try the roasted chicken recipe and DEFINITELY try the braised chicken legs and the rosemary and garlic white beans. SO GOOD. Your biscuits would totally be my lover!

  9. After reading your post, I pulled out my copy and started thumbing through it. I admit that I often overlook it because of the lack of pictures (no disrespect meant to Alice Waters, of course), but your strawberry shortcake definitely had me paying more attention! Gorgeous picture!

  10. I'm guessing you've made as many or more strawberry recipes than me over the past few weeks. They are so absolutely delicious right now! This recipe looks amazing. I'll be making your strawberry-arugula salad tonight!

  11. Wait, they make cookbooks without pictures? Like, published in this century? Hrm…don't know how I feel about that. I DO feel good about your picture, however!

  12. uhm how come i'm just seeing ur blog?!??! huh?! wackness… love this. will have it when the man is not around! ;)

  13. Beautiful picture. I've been thinking about getting that book for a while. if it has more recipes as good-looking as this one, I'm definitely in!

  14. This turned out perfectly. I made it for an Easter dessert. Not too sweet, beautiful presentation!

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