This summer we updated the All-American strawberry shortcake by taking a cue from France. Puffy, pillowy pockets of crisp puff pastry filled with smooth strawberry Bavarian cream. Strawberry Bavarian Choux Bun Shortcakes, a new classic for the recipe box.
Strawberries and Shortcake-
Strawberries and Shortcake, the two words just flow as one, as does this classic American dish. The original recipe dates to about 1847 and a recipe for a cake made with strawberries. But it became a truly American pastry when seasonal berries were paired with biscuits and served with whipped cream. It quickly became a classic that stands to this day.
Over the years, we've tried to change the strawberry shortcake into something that it shouldn't be. Towers and towers of berries, drizzled with white chocolate, thick icing, tiny biscuits made with cheese and on it goes.
The French and the Strawberry-
This is a Strawberry dish created by Guy Savoy, one of the worlds top French Chefs. We tasted this dessert at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Las Vegas back in 2010, and the memory has never left me. Fresh strawberries, strawberry sorbet, cubes of strawberry gelee and a wild French strawberry served with fresh basil flowers. Now that's a taste of strawberry. But we're not haute French cuisine here, but we do use this dish as the inspiration for a new style of Strawberry shortcake with a French influence.
Sometimes we start with a simple, rustic fruit dessert recipe. The basic ingredients are the same, but with some inner creativity, a few new flavors and techniques, and a new Strawberry Shortcake is born.
A New Strawberry Shortcake that Keeps the Tradition Alive-
We created a new Strawberry Shortcake recipe to celebrate the past, keeping the tradition and flavors alive yet with a new style. The cream puff, or choux bun in French, is the perfect new style of "shortcake" for our new recipe. Crisp and golden on the outside with pillows of air and just the right size to hold the cream.
Bavarian Cream is like an upscale whipped cream. Strawberries add flavor, and gelatin gives the Bavarian structure. Whip it with cream and pipe into the choux buns for a French-style of strawberry and cream sandwich. Make the choux buns a day ahead, then fill with Bavarian cream the next day, garnish with strawberries and powdered sugar and you've created this masterpiece in no time.
Pastries, Pies and Cakes, Any Time of Year-
We normally think of Strawberry Shortcake in the summer, stretching from June into the hot months of July and early August. Fresh, local, in season strawberries are best, but let's not deny this treat any time of year. It's perfect on a holiday table, afternoon tea party or brunch. Delicious, fresh strawberries are now in the market year-round. Grown in climates that support fresh strawberries in February, let's all put this recipe on the "anytime" list.
Pastries, Pies and Cakes. This summer, we added some new pastries to the recipe box, now taking their place next to our favorite classics.
Strawberry Bavarian Choux Bun Shortcakes
This summer we updated the All-American strawberry shortcake by taking a cue from France. Puffy, pillowy pockets of crisp puff pastry filled with smooth strawberry Bavarian cream. Strawberry Bavarian Choux Bun Shortcakes, new classic for the recipe box.
For the Strawberry Bavarian Cream-
- 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup cold water
- 2 cups mashed strawberries
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups heavy cream
For the Choux Buns and Garnishes-
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup milk
- 6 tbsp. butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup whole strawberries
Make the Strawberry Bavarian Cream-
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Sprinkle in the gelatin powder and stir until it dissolves in the water. Pour into small bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Add the strawberries and the sugar in a food processor. Add the dissolved gelatin and mix well. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes until the gelatin starts to set.
In a mixer, beat the heavy cream until it’s light and fluffy, then fold in the strawberry gelatin mixture until the cream is fully combined with the strawberry mixture. Keep the strawberry Bavarian cream chilled in the fridge while you make the Choux Bun Shortcakes.
Make the Choux Bun Shortcakes and Serve-
Heat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the flour, sugar and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the water, milk, and butter to a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour mixture, whisking it fast into the liquid. The choux pastry dough will be thick and look like mashed potatoes. Keep stirring and cooking the dough for 3-4 minutes. The dough will be smooth and glossy.
Place the cooked choux pastry dough in a mixer bowl. Beat the dough on low speed for 2 minutes to cool it down. Then start adding the eggs, one at a time, until each egg is blended into the dough. When all the eggs are added the dough will be sticky and shiny.
Fit a pastry bag with a large piping tip or star tip and fill it with the choux pastry dough. Pipe a 2” round onto the parchment, twisting and raising the tip at the end. (The shortcakes will expand during baking). Brush the tops of each choux bun shortcake with egg wash.
Place a pan on the bottom rack of the oven and pour in hot water. This adds steam to the oven while the shortcakes rise and bake. Bake for 10minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 and bake for another 16-18 minutes until the choux bun shortcakes are golden brown and have risen.
Place the shortcakes on a rack and prick with a toothpick. This allows steam to release so the shortcakes don’t fall. Cool the choux bun shortcakes to room temperature before filling with the Strawberry Bavarian Cream.
Cut the shortcakes in half. Add the strawberry Bavarian cream to a pastry bag and pipe in the bottom half of the bun. Place the top shortcake on top. Dust with powdered sugar. Pipe a little more strawberry Bavarian cream on top and garnish with a whole strawberry.
This recipe will work for other summer berries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and peaches, apricots and plums too.