An amped-up strawberry shortcake that is great for slightly out of season strawberries that need a little help.
For the shortcakes:
Preheat oven to 425F. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 6 tbsp sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until it is the size of peas by criss-crossing two knives or using a pastry blender. Gradually add the milk and toss with a fork until the dough comes together. You may not need all of the milk. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and continue to knead 4-5 times until the dough comes together. Roll the dough out to ¾ inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. Re-roll the scraps and cut until the dough is gone. Place the shortcakes on a cookie sheet covered with parchment. Brush with milk or cream and sprinkle with demerara or regular white sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack until room temperature.
For the strawberries:
In a bowl, sprinkle sliced strawberries with ¼ cup sugar. Add the orange zest and juice and toss to coat. You can add more sugar here if needed but remember it will get sweeter and juicier as it sits. Chill until ready to assemble.
For the custard:
Whisk together the 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and beaten egg yolks, and cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly, 25-30 minutes. Once the mixture thickens and boils, remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla. In the meantime, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the ¼ cup of sugar and whip until they form firm peaks. While the yolk mixture is still hot, very slowly begin to drizzle it into the egg whites, stirring as you add it to avoid scrambling the egg whites as you mix. Chill mixture in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.
To assemble: Slice a shortcake in half. Spoon strawberry mixture and juice over the shortcake. Add pudding and put the other half of the shortcake on top. You can add more strawberry and pudding mixture to the top if you want (you do, trust me).
Keywords: strawberry, shortcake, custard