Strawberry Almond Shortcake with Basil

Yield: 6 portions

Unsalted butter, softened – 1 cup
Sugar, divided – 10 Tbsp.
Whole toasted almonds, ground – 1 cup
Flour – 2 cups
Salt – pinch
Almonds, skin on, sliced – 2 Tbsp.
Strawberries, cut into wedges – 2 cups
Simple syrup – 1/4 cup
Lime zest – 1 tsp.
Heavy cream – 1 cup
Crème fraiˆche – 1/2 cup
Vanilla bean, pulp – 1/2
Balsamic vinegar – as needed
Basil syrup, see note – 1/2 cup
Tiny fresh basil leaves – 2 Tbsp.


  1. To prepare shortcake, cream butter and 6 Tbsp. sugar until light and fluffy; add ground almonds, flour and salt and mix until just combined. Roll dough between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8-in. thick; refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove wrap and cut into at least 1 1/2-in.-x-2-in. rectangles. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and press 2 to 3 almond slices on each rectangle; bake in heated 350F oven 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Toss strawberries with simple syrup and lime zest; set aside.
  3. To prepare cream, whisk heavy cream, crème fraiˆche, remaining sugar and pulp from vanilla bean until soft peaks form.
  4. To assemble, spoon 1/6 of strawberries onto center of plate and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and basil syrup. Place cream in between 5 almond rectangles and sprinkle with basil leaves. Repeat to make 6 servings.

Note: For basil syrup, blanch 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves with 1/4 cup fresh spinach leaves for 10 seconds; drain and immediately plunge into cold water. Squeeze out excess water and puree with 1/4 cup simple syrup; strain through fine-mesh sieve.