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Basil-Macerated Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

Basil-Macerated Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes from Marble Hill Provisions

Serves 9

Shortcake Biscuits

10 oz. (about 2-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1-1/2 oz. (about 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. ) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, such as Droste
1/4 cup granulated sugar; plus about 3 Tbs. for sprinkling
1-1/2 Tbs. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
4-1/2 oz. (9 Tbs. ) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
6-1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, grated or finely chopped (the food processor works well); more for garnish
1-1/4 cups heavy cream; plus about 3 tablespoons for brushing
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Basil Cream

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup light corn syrup

11/2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

Basil-Macerated Strawberries

1/2 ounce of fresh basil

2 pints of strawberries hulled and sliced lengthwise

3 tablespoons of sugar

To make the shortcake biscuits

Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Toss with a fork to combine. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or a fork until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. Add the grated chocolate and toss to combine. Combine the cream and vanilla in a liquid measure. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the cream into the well. Mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just combined; it should look shaggy and still feel a little dry. Gently knead by hand five or six times to pick up any dry ingredients remaining in the bottom of the bowl and to create a loose ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into an 8-inch square, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Transfer the dough to the parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and trim about 1/4 inch from each side to create a neat, sharp edge (a bench knife or a pastry scraper works well, or use a large chef's knife, being sure to cut straight down). Cut the dough into 9 even squares (about 2-1/2 inches square) and spread them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. With a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, brush each biscuit with a thin layer of  cream and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake until the biscuits look a little dry and are mostly firm to the touch (they should spring back slightly when gently pressed), 18 to 20 minutes.

Prepare Basil Cream

Combine basil and corn syrup in a blender and puree.  Let stand for 30 mins.

Prepare Basil-Macerated Strawberries

Bruise basil leaves with a knife our twist them in your hands.  Toss with strawberries and sugar and let stand for 20 mins. Remove basil and discard.

Finish Basil Cream

Strain syrup through a fine sieve, discarding solids.  Whip the cream with the confectioners sugar until thickened.  Add the basil syrup and whip until soft peaks form.

Assemble Shortcakes

To serve, split the shortcake biscuit in half and place bottoms on plates.  Top with some of the strawberries and then with the basil cream.  Cover with the top of the shortcakes.  Top with a small dollop of cream and strawberries.

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