Strawberry Shortcakes with Tarragon Cream
1 2/3 cups flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
6 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
To make the biscuits: In an electric mixer combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and mix together until it resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and mix just until the dough comes together (it will be wet and soft). Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a 6 inch square, about 1 inch high. Wrap up the square and chill for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the dough into 9 biscuits (you can simply cut into squares or use a round cutter - remember the biscuits will expand in the oven). Brush the tops of the biscuits lightly with cream and sprinkle the turbinado sugar over them.
Place the biscuits about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or the biscuits are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make the tarragon cream: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Prepare a second bowl full of ice water. Put the tarragon leaves into the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then drain and plunge into the ice water. Drain and dry off the leaves. Put the leaves and corn syrup into a food processor and puree. Set the syrup aside while you are doing the strawberries.
To prepare the strawberries: twist the leaves or chop them roughly. Combine the strawberries, leaves, and sugar in a bowl and let macerate for about 20 minutes. You can taste the strawberries to make sure the tarragon flavor does not become too strong. Remove the tarragon and discard.
To finish: Strain the tarragon syrup through a sieve to get rid of any solids. Whip the cream with the confectioner's sugar until it starts to thicken, then add the syrup and continue whipping until soft peaks form.
Split 8 of the shortcake biscuits in half and place the bottoms on plates. Put some of the strawberries on top and then cover with the cream. Cover with the tops of the shortcakes and serve immediately.