Adapted from a recipe by Brett LaMott, chef/owner of Café Maddalena in Dunsmuir, California, a quaint town and beloved fishing spot on the Sacramento River just south of Mt. Shasta. If you are driving up I-5 to Oregon, you might speed right past Dunsmuir without noticing. However, we can tell you that it’s more than worthwhile to stop in and enjoy Chef Brett’s inspired Mediterranean cuisine at his charming bistro and wine bar.

Chef Brett says, “The shortcake in this recipe is very short, more of a biscuit than a cake.”

strawberryshortcakeYields 4 large servings

For shortcake:
2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
3 to 5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
1 egg
3/8 cup cold milk

For topping:
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
2 pints of strawberries, rinsed,
hulled, and quartered
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a bowl or food processor, mix the dry ingredients and zest. Cut in the butter (or pulse if you are using a food processor) until the texture is like coarse cornmeal. Whisk together the egg and the milk, then add about half to the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork or pulsing and adding more of the egg mixture as needed until the dough forms a ball.

Divide the dough into 12 equal-size balls and roll or pat each out on a floured board to about 3/8-inch thick. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden on the edges. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

For the topping, bring sugar and water to a boil until clear. Pour over strawberries and let cool.

Whip 1 cup heavy cream. (Don’t add sugar.)

To make 4 servings, place 1 shortcake on each plate followed by a large spoonful of strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream. Repeat sequence 2 more times to stack 3 shortcakes on each plate, finishing with berries and cream.

Berkeley-based illustrator and musician Caroline H. Gould is a transplant from Brooklyn, New York. She is especially fond of illustrating desserts.