The Surprising Ingredient You Need To Try In Your Strawberry Shortcakes

A sprinkle of salt can make caramel more mouthwatering, a hint of espresso turns brownies more decadent, and a splash of vanilla makes French toast even more irresistible. But what about strawberry shortcake? Between the fruit, the chantilly cream, and the buttery pastry, it's hard to believe the classic dessert could get any tastier than it already is. And while your grandmother's time-honored recipe might already be a hit at every family gathering, there's one surprising ingredient you can add that's guaranteed to take this dessert to the next level. According to the late culinary great James Beard, all it takes is two egg yolks (via Kitchn).

Egg yolks are well-known for adding richness to desserts, like tiramisu and pound cake. However, in most recipes, they're incorporated into the batter in their raw state, or at the very most, tempered. Beard's trick though involves hard-boiled egg yolks.

Save the raw eggs for another recipe

Beard's strawberry shortcake method begins with hard boiling two eggs, then removing the yolks from the whites. The yolks are then pressed through a fine-mesh sieve so they can be incorporated into the dough as cohesively as possible. Per his tip, you'd do this right after mixing together dry ingredients, and right before incorporating the cream.

It's important to note that this hack isn't a substitution that works for every baked good. Unlike regular cakes, shortcakes are more like biscuits, and traditionally they don't contain eggs at all — rather, they rely exclusively on butter to bind the ingredients together (via Bon Appétit). Though butter on its own gives the shortcake its rich, flaky layers of flavor, the addition of egg yolks serves to deepen this even more while also contributing a softer overall texture.

According to The Kitchn, there's an exact science behind this. "The tiny bits of yolk prevent too much gluten from forming, therefore keeping baked goods like shortcakes extra tender," the article explains. And you certainly can't go wrong with an extra tender strawberry shortcake. As it turns out, just this one additional step can do wonders in making your favorite dessert all the more delicious.