Family Meal

by Chef David Ferguson




Balsamic Macerated Strawberry Shortcake, with Thai Basil

Prep time:  40 mins    Cook time:  20 mins    Serves:  8

Using both sweetened and raw strawberries gives this classic dessert great flavor without being too sweet.  Maceration is a technique to sweeten  and soften fruit, as well as add flavor, without using heat.  This preserves flavor, and allows for greater expression of the ingredients.  Traditionally this technique is done by just letting the fruit sit in sugar, but by adding a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and some chopped Thai basil, other flavors can be introduced to the fruit.

When making the biscuits, work the dough by hand.  As any self respecting southerner will tell you, overworking biscuit batter will make them tougher.  The more you work the batter, the glutens will develop, and the worse off you’ll be.  Finish the batter on a cutting board and fold until the ingredients just come together.  

Thai basil has a slightly sweeter profile, which is why I chose it over traditional basil.  If you can’t find it, regular basil would suffice, as would mint.  I would also recommend whipping the cream by hand for improved texture.  If you aren't in the mood for the arm workout though, and electric mixer will do fine, just avoid the stuff in a can.  



  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 6 tbsp (¾ stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend

Berries & Whipped Cream

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries; hulled and quartered
  • ½ lb fresh strawberries; rough chopped
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp sugar; divided
  • ¼ cup thai basil; chopped and divided
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 400°.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk sugar, baking powder, salt, and two cups of flour.  Using your fingers, work in the butter until the the batter becomes the texture of coarse meal with a few small pieces of butter remaining. Add in the cream and mix until the dough just comes together.  At this point, the dough will be sticky.


Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured cutting board or surface and pat into a 12x4” rectangle about ¾” thick. Cut out rounds with a 2½” biscuit cutter, re-rolling the scraps as needed to make 8 rounds. Transfer rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until tops are golden brown and shortcakes are cooked through about 15–20 minutes.

While your shortcakes are cooking, take 1lb of  your strawberries and add to a mixing bowl with 2 tbsp of sugar and balsamic vinegar.  Toss strawberries,  vinegar,  and sugar together, then add in half of your chopped basil and let sit 20-30 minutes.  

Whisk heavy cream, reserved sugar and vanilla extract together in a mixing bowl by hand until peaks form.   Set whipped cream aside.

Peel layers of biscuits apart and layer macerated strawberries and whipped cream.  Top with more whipped cream and garnish with fresh rough chopped berries and reserved basil.