Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus freezing time for the gelato and macerating time for the strawberries
Note: Adapted from a recipe by Craft pastry chef Catherine Schimenti. This recipe makes 1 quart gelato, more than is needed for the recipe; the extra gelato will keep for 1 week in the freezer. Acacia honey for the shortcakes is available at Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica, Surfas in Culver City and some specialty grocery stores.
Honey pine nut gelato
1 cup pine nuts
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup honey (orange blossom or wildflower)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast them until golden brown and fragrant, about 8 minutes, stirring once or twice. Cool slightly, then purée in a blender or food processor until the mixture resembles very chunky peanut butter. Set aside.
2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a medium bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the egg yolks and honey together until pale yellow and satiny, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, mix the milk and cream together over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until hot (be careful not to boil). Slowly pour one-half cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in an additional one-half cup of the milk mixture to fully temper the yolks. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
4. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl set over an ice bath, then stir in the pine nut butter. Allow the mixture to chill completely, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Strain through a mesh strainer, pushing down on the solids (you will still have about one-fourth cup of pine nut purée left in the strainer). Discard the solids.
5. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Spread the gelato evenly into a container with a lid; cover the surface with plastic wrap and then cover with the lid. Freeze it until completely set, at least 5 hours, preferably overnight. (Makes 1 quart.)
Shortcakes and assembly
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup acacia honey, divided
1 pint strawberries
1/2 cup crème fraîche
Honey pine nut gelato
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a medium bowl using a hand-held mixer, whip the cream and 1 tablespoon of the sugar to medium peaks.
2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Switch to the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer and slowly add the dry ingredients to the cream until just combined (do not overwork or the dough will be tough). This also can be done by hand: Use a spatula to fold the sifted dry ingredients, little by little, into the whipped cream until just combined.
3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and form into a log about 12 inches long. Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the log into eight equal pieces. Shape each shortcake into a round 2 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter, and place onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. In a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the honey over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes until warm. Brush the tops of each of the shortcakes with the warm honey, and lightly sprinkle with one-fourth teaspoon of the sugar. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through baking, until the shortcakes are set and a rich golden on top. Remove and allow to cool 2 minutes, then brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons honey. Set aside.
4. Quarter the strawberries lengthwise and place in a medium bowl (if they are large, cut each quarter in half crosswise; the pieces should be no larger than one-half inch). Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar, depending on how sweet they are. Toss to mix well and set aside for at least 1 hour to let the berries soften and release their juices.
5. In a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with a whisk or hand mixer, whip the crème fraîche with the remaining tablespoon sugar until light and fluffy.
6. To serve, slice the shortcakes horizontally in half, and place each bottom half on a plate. Divide the strawberries evenly over the shortcakes, then spoon the crème fraîche evenly over the strawberries. Place the top half of each shortcake on top, cocked to one side to reveal the filling. Place a scoop of honey pine nut gelato alongside each shortcake, and serve immediately.
Each serving: 442 calories; 7 grams protein; 52 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 25 grams fat; 12 grams saturated fat; 122 mg. cholesterol; 517 mg. sodium.