Berries are in top form here; the filling is a cool, tangy crème fraîche sorbet rather than the usual whipped cream.
Makes 8 servings.
For sorbet: Stir 1 1/2 cups water and sugar in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil syrup until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 2 minutes. Transfer syrup to bowl; chill until cold, at least 1 hour. Whisk crème fraîche, vanilla and lemon juice into syrup. Transfer to ice cream maker. Process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer sorbet to container. Cover; freeze up to 1 week.
For shortcakes: Preheat oven to 400°F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk milk and egg in small bowl to blend. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently until dough is smooth, about 5 turns. Pat out dough to 6×4-inch rectangle. Cut into 8 equal pieces; shape each into 2 1/2-inch round about 3/4 inch thick.
Arrange rounds on prepared sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake shortcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean and bottoms are brown, about 13 minutes. Cool on racks until lukewarm, about 30 minutes. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Wrap in foil and rewarm 10 minutes at 350°F before serving, if desired.)
For berries: Combine all ingredients in large bowl; toss to blend. Transfer 1 cup berry mixture to shallow bowl; mash to coarse puree with back of fork. Return puree to berry mixture. Let stand until juices form, stirring occasionally, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Cut shortcakes in half horizontally. Place bottom halves, cut side up, in 8 dessert bowls. Top each with scoop of sorbet, berry mixture and shortcake top.
* Crème fraîche is available at some supermarkets. If unavailable, heat 1 cup whipping cream to lukewarm (85°F). Remove from heat and mix in 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Cover and let stand until slightly thickened, 24 to 48 hours, depending on temperature of room. Chill until ready to use.