Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

I've noticed a Very Bad Habit developing out there in the world lately (not the first sign on decay I've seen there, nor the worst, to be sure) of people serving strawberries, cream - and angel food cake, or sponge cake, or whatever - and calling the result shortcake. Nope, sorry. No dice. Shortcake is made with biscuits. You can do one giant one, if you like, and cut it, but it's got to be a biscuit.

One of the great things about shortcake is that it isn't terribly sweet, so that the berries and cream stand out all the better. The people who use some sort of fluffy cakey stuff instead of biscuits are usually also trying to short-change you on the strawberries and cream part, you will note. As usual with simple but successful dishes, you've got to have quality and freshness. You can make a concession to the fact that this is dessert by putting a fairly token amount of sugar into the biscuits, but even that is not really traditional.

6 to 8 biscuits; do with them what you will
45 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Strawberry Shortcake
Make the Biscuits:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sunflower seed oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups soft whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper.

Cut the butter into small dice, and put it in a mixing bowl with the oil and buttermilk.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt, and stir this mixture into the butter etc. Stir well, until it forms a good, definite ball. You may need to give up with the spoon and mix gently by hand. Do not over-mix, but the flour should all be worked in.

I then find it simplest to pat the dough out on the baking sheet into a rectangle about an inch thick, and cut it into smaller rectangular biscuits. Spread them out and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Let cool completely, or even just partly.

In the mean time...

Prepare the Strawberries & Cream and Assemble:
Rinse, drain and hull however many strawberries you think you need. If you are making 6 shortcakes, I would not think 2 quarts would be too many. Slice them if they are large. Mix them with a tablespoon or two of sugar and set them aside.

Beat stiff however much heavy cream you are prepared to indulge in, with a few tablespoons of sugar again, and a bit of vanilla if you like.

Cut the biscuits in half and cover the bottom piece with strawberries and cream. Put the top half back on, and add more berries and cream.

Last year at this time it was Paprika Sautéed Cauliflower.


mamaloo said...

My Granny makes what we've come to call "Sand" which is is a strawberry shortcake-esque dessert.

Layers of jelly roll, strawberries, jello and cream are stacked up like a trifle and allowed to sit. The juice of the strawberries soaks into the slices of jelly roll and make it grainy.

When my father had his first serving of this strawberry trifle in 1970 he exclaimed, with his usual absence of tact, that the texture was like sand. And the name stuck! It sounds funny to outsiders, but I've been eating "Sand" every holiday since they let me eat solids - probably Christmas of '71. :)

But, I think I will give this true shortcake a try this weekend. The shortcake looks kind of like a scone.

Melynda said...

Thank you. There is no shortcake without the biscuit!