makes 8 servings
2 cups flour
3 Tbs. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. each baking soda and salt
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, chilled
2 Tbs. solid all-vegetable shortening, chilled
2/3 to 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 pints fresh strawberries
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped
2 Tbs. powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat to 450 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch ring mold (or an 8-inch cake pan).
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch slices. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until butter pieces are the size of lima beans. Cut in the shortening until mixture looks like coarse meal.
Slowly stir in the buttermilk with a fork until mixture forms a dough that leaves the sides of the bowl. Gently knead the dough on a lightly floured board about five to six times until the dough holds together (it should be soft).
With a lightly floured hand, pat to one-inch thickness and pat into ring mold. Bake about 18 to 20 minutes or until golden. Remove to rack to cool 5 minutes, then invert from pan onto another wire rack, baked bottom side up. Cool before filling.
Filling: Slice berries in half, sprinkle with two tablespoons sugar and allow to sit at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove half the strawberries to another bowl and coarsely mash them with a pastry blender or fork. Let both bowls of strawberries sit at least an additional 30 minutes.
When cool, set shortcake ring on a serving plate. Carefully split it into two layers with a serrated knife. With the aid of another pan or baking sheet, lift the top shortcake portion and set it nearby. (The baking sheet bottom supports the shortcake ring and prevents it from breaking.)
Spoon the mashed berries with their juice over the biscuit bottom, spread the lightly whipped cream on top of the berries, then arrange the berry halves on top of the cream. With the aid of the baking sheet, set the shortcake ring half on top. Sprinkle powdered sugar lightly over the top. Serve immediately.