Here’s what you need:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup whole toasted almonds
2 cups AP flour
¼ tsp salt
2 cups strawberries, topped, cut in wedges
1/4 cup simple syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 cup Mascarpone Cheese
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
pulp of 1/2 vanilla bean
basil syrup (recipe follows)
2 Tbsp. tiny fresh basil leaves
Here’s what you need to do
To make shortbread: Cream butter and 6 Tbsp. sugar until light, fluffy and almost white. In food processor with metal blade, purèe whole almonds for 2 minutes until very fine. Add to butter mixture, along with flour and a pinch of salt. Mix until just blended.
Roll out dough between two sheets of plastic wrap about 1/8″ thick. Lay shortcake dough, still covered in plastic wrap, on sheet pan and refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove plastic wrap, place dough on cutting board and cut into eighteen 2 inch circles. Place on parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
For simple syrup: Bring ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Cool. Note:
For basil syrup: (Yields a scant 1/4 cup.) In food processor, purèe basil leaves with 1/4 cup simple syrup for 2 minutes, until color is bright green. Strain through a fine (mesh) sieve. Store in refrigerator.
To make Shortcakes: Toss strawberry wedges with simple syrup. Set aside. Whisk mascarpone, heavy cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar with vanilla pulp until soft peaks form.
To assemble: Place a small dollop of vanilla cream in center of each of six dessert plates. Place a piece of almond shortbread over cream. Spoon a large dollop of vanilla cream on top and cover with a second piece of shortbread. Continue the process to make three shortbread layers. Spoon some strawberries around shortcake. Drizzle basil syrup around strawberries, and spirnkle with basil.