As well as being great to serve outside at home, these are also a British cream tea classic. Part of the traditional afternoon tea repertoire of tea-rooms up and down the country.
These simple to make cakes are guaranteed to give your tea-time a touch of elegance.
Strawberry Vanilla ShortcakesServes:8
Ingredients:350g (3 cups) self-raising flour
100g (1/2 cup) butter, chilled and cubed
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and with the seeds scraped out
100ml (1/2 cup, scant) milk, warmed
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
To serve:227g (8 oz) carton of clotted cream
250g (9 oz) fresh strawberries, sliced thickly
Method:Combine the flour, butter, sugar, half the scraped out vanilla seeds and 1/4 tsp salt in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs then turn into a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat together the milk, egg and lemon juice. Turn the liquid ingredients into the dry mixture and bring together as a clumpy dough with a round-bladed knife.
Turn this dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface, then shape into a smooth disc. Cut out eight rounds with a 7cm cutter (pinch together and re-roll the trimmings) then glaze the tops with a little beaten egg yolks. Carefully lift onto a greased baking tray then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 220ºC (425ºF, Gas Mark 7).
Bake for about 12 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Beat the remaining vanilla seeds into the cream.
To serve, cut the top off each shortcake and top with the jam. Spoon over the vanilla cream and mound strawberry slices on top.