Posted by: gbdub | September 13, 2009

(Late) Summer Love… Strawberry Shortcake

shortcake

So here’s this little lovely that’s been staring at you ever since the blog opened. I’m sure you’ve been lying awake at night waiting for the recipe, gnashing your teeth and cursing at the heavens for your horrific lot, cursed to be forever without the sweet taste of strawberries and cream.

At least that’s what I tell myself. Hey, what’s the point of a blog if I don’t get to indulge in a little self-aggrandizement? But Garrick, you say, strawberry shortcake is a summer dessert, and it’s September! Why, all the kiddies are back in school and football is starting and you should be baking apple pie and getting ready to rake leaves! To which I reply, I’m in Phoenix and the high today was 103. It’s summer, and I’m making some bloody shortcake. You might as well just go along with it and enjoy it. Besides, if the idea of fresh, juicy strawberries on a sweet biscuit with a healthy dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream doesn’t make you salivate, well, that’s just un-American.

DSC_0168

Ingredients. A surprisingly simple assortment.

DSC_0169

Mix your dry ingredients together. Note that I’m doing this in batches to avoid coating my kitchen in flour. You should do the same unless you have a much larger food processor or a strong desire for some spontaneous redecoration.

shortcakeButter

Cut your butter into small pieces and pulse in the food processor until you have a coarse meal-like texture.

shortcake vanilla

Transfer to a bowl and add the cream and vanilla.

shorcake dough

Mix with a fork until just moistened.

shortcake dough ball

Knead by hand about five times to form a ball. Dough will be less sticky. Don’t overwork it.

shortcake dough square

On a parchment lined baking sheet, press out the dough into a square about 8×8 inches. It should be around an inch thick. Cover with plastic and pop in the fridge for 20 minutes.

stawberry sugar

While the dough is chilling, use the time to slice up your strawberries. Put them in a container with a couple spoonfuls of sugar. The amount is up to you – how sweet you like it and how sweet the berries already are. But make sure you use at least some, as it helps draw out the juices (and juice is really critical to strawberry shortcake). I like to shake up the tupperware type container to mix well and bruise the strawberries a little to get more juice.

shortcake dough slice

After the dough has chilled, cut into 9 squares and bake at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

shortcakes done

They should come out looking golden brown and delicious. Resist the urge to immediately pop one in your mouth. They are at this point both too large and too hot for this, and it will not end well.

To serve, crack a biscuit in half with a fork. Place the lower half in a dish. Add a scoop of strawberries and some vanilla ice cream (I like Breyer’s natural vanilla for this application). Top with the second half of the biscuit, then a swirl of whip cream. You can also just crack the biscuit into pieces and spoon strawberries and cream over it. Less pretty, but just as good.

The biscuits, which are really more like scones, freeze pretty well. They are also good on their own with a little butter for breakfast, and I suspect they’d make an excellent basis for a bacon and egg sandwich.

Strawberry Shortcake (adapted from Simply Recipes)

Ingredients (biscuits):

  1. 3 cups all purpose flour
  2. 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  3. 1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
  4. 3.4 tsp. salt
  5. 12 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  6. 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  7. 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients (to serve):

  1. 2-3 lbs fresh strawberries
  2. sugar, to taste
  3. vanilla ice cream
  4. whipped cream

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl or food processor. Using a pastry cutter, fork, or several pulses in the food processor, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mix has a coarse meal-like texture with the largest pieces of butter about the size of peas. Transfer to a bowl (if not there already) and form a well in the center. Pour cream and vanilla into the well. Mix with a fork until evenly moistened and just combined; it should “look shaggy and still feel a little dry”. Knead by hand five times or so to form a loose, less sticky ball.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, press the the dough into an 8 inch square. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes.

Remove the stems from the strawberries and slice thinly. Mix with a few spoonfuls of sugar in a bowl (or shake up in a plastic storage container) and allow to macerate. This softens the berries and releases the juices.

After the dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator and cut into 9 squares. Bake at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

To serve, break up or slice a biscuit in a bowl. Ladle strawberries over the biscuit, then top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and finish with whipped cream.

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