This recipe from pastry chef Claudia Fleming’s beloved out-of-print cookbook The Last Course: The Desserts of the Gramercy Tavern seems like a surprising combination: the American classic strawberry shortcake with French tarragon. But it keeps to the seasonal dictate: What grows together goes together.
- To make the shortcake biscuits, in the bowl of a food processor or an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse or mix to combine. Add the butter and pulse or mix until the flour resembles coarse meal. Add 2/3 cup of the cream and pulse or mix until the dough just comes together, scraping down the paddle and mixing bowl if necessary. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat it together into a 6-inch x 6-inch square, 1 inch thick, incorporating any stray crumbs. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the dough into 9 biscuits. Brush the top of the biscuits with the remaining tablespoon of cream and sprinkle with the sugar.
- Place the biscuits 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tarragon cream. Bring a pot of water to boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Plunge the tarragon leaves into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain and plunge into the ice water. Drain well, squeezing out any excess moisture. Combine the tarragon and corn syrup in a blender and purée. Let rest for 30 minutes. (The syrup can be made up to 1 day in advance and refrigerated until needed.)
- To prepare the tarragon-macerated strawberries, bruise the tarragon sprigs with the side of a knife or by twisting them in your hands. Toss together the strawberries, sugar, and tarragon and let stand for 20 minutes. Remove the tarragon and discard.
- Strain the tarragon syrup through a fine sieve, discarding the solids. Whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar until thickened. Add the tarragon syrup and whip until soft peaks form.
- To serve, split 8 of the shortcake biscuits in half and place the bottoms on plates. Top with some of the strawberries and then with the cream. Cover with the top of the shortcakes and serve immediately.
Mari Uyehara is a food and travel writer based in Brooklyn. She was previously a senior editor at Saveur, the food & drink editor at Time Out New York, and the food editor of Martha Stewart Living Radio.