Sweet Pickled Strawberries + Shortcakes

Sweet Pickled Strawberries + Shortcakes www.abeautifulmess.com Strawberry shortcake is such a classic summer dessert. There are about a million different variations out there. And I, for one, would be delighted to try them all. Just not all in one night. πŸ™‚ For our back porch party I wanted to try something a little different. I had the idea to try pickling the strawberries to add a little tang. If you've never tried pickled fruit before I highly recommend giving this a try soon. You won't be disappointed. 

For the short cakes:
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 stick (8 tablespoons) softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
a pinch of salt
1 egg
In a bowl combine the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla until a crumbly paste begins to form (similar to making pie crust). Stir in the flour and salt until a dough ball forms. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to overnight. On a lightly flour surface roll out the dough until 1/2 inch thick. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out shortcakes and lay on a prepared baking sheet. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush over each shortcake. Bake at 350Β°F for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown. Store in an airtight container for up to two days at room temperature.Sweet Pickled Strawberries + Shortcakes www.abeautifulmess.comFor the pickled strawberries:
1 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean
6-8 whole peppercorns
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 lbs. fresh strawberries
First remove the strawberry tops and slice in half or 3 pieces for the larger strawberries. Place in a large glass container, or multiple smaller glass containers. With the strawberries add the cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean (scraped of seeds), peppercorns and thyme. 
In a pot combine the water, vinegar, sugar and vanilla beans (scraped from the pod). Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and pour the hot liquid over the strawberries. Cover and allow this to sit for 4-8 hours. Sweet Pickled Strawberries + Shortcakes www.abeautifulmess.com  When you are ready to serve up dessert in a small bowl or large glass layer in a shortcake, remove the strawberries from the pickling juice with a slotted spoon and top with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Photos by Ryan Strong. See more photos from our back porch party here.