Friday, June 24, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

June's Strawberries
I look forward to June's crop of fresh strawberries because we always have strawberry shortcake.  Our strawberry shortcake is a simple dessert made with homemade baking powder biscuits that are topped with fresh strawberries macerated in granulated sugar and then crowned with sweetened whipped cream. 

After buying about five pounds of fresh strawberries this week it was time to make our first strawberry shortcakes of the season.

The first step in making strawberry shortcake is to prepare the strawberries.  I washed, dried, hulled and sliced the strawberries, eating one or two...OK, ten or twelve in the process.  Once sliced, top the berries with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and refrigerate them for several hours.  The addition of the sugar helps the berries to render their juice.  The strawberry juice is a necessary component of strawberry shortcake.

Top Sliced Berries with Sugar
The next step is preparing the baking powder biscuits.  I don't make baking powder biscuits very often.  There are only two recipes that require them at my house.  One of those recipes is in our fall/winter menu rotation, beef stew, and the other is strawberry shortcake, which is only made in June and early July.  The recipe I use for the biscuits was my nana's recipe.  When I took it out of the recipe box to make the biscuits this week, it made me smile. I love how inexact it is.  Here's the recipe, exactly as it was written:

Nana's Baking Powder Biscuits
3 cups flour
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup sugar
use enough milk to stick together

Put dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut in shortening.  Dump in milk.  Stir with fork.  Will be sticky-not a ball.  Dump onto well floured counter top.  Roll 1/2 inch thick.  Dot with margarine on top.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 10-14 minutes.

Here's how I actually made my biscuits, switching the shortening with unsalted butter and using 1 cup of milk.  I also used  my food processor to cut in the butter, but you could do that step by hand.

Baking Powder Biscuit Ingredients
Donna's Baking Powder Biscuits
3 cups all purpose unbleached flour
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk


Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to combine the ingredients. 

Use Your Food Processor
Add the butter to the mixture, pulse to incorporate the butter, until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. 

It Looks Like Coarse Cornmeal


Transfer the mixture to a bowl.  Add the milk, all at once, stirring with a fork just to combine.  The dough will be sticky.

The Dough is Sticky


Scrape the dough from the bowl onto a well-floured counter.  With well-floured hands, press the mixture into a flat round shape about 1/2 inch thick. 
1/2 Inch Thick
Using a biscuit cutter, or the rim of a well-floured glass, cut the dough into round biscuits.  Gather the scraps, reshape and cut additional biscuits.  You should get 8 or 9 biscuits from this recipe.

Dot with Butter
Place the biscuits on an ungreased sheet pan. Dot the top of each biscuit with a small piece of butter.  This will help the biscuit to brown in the oven. 

They'll Rise Nicely
Bake the biscuits for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Cool completely before using for strawberry shortcake.

Click the link for the printable Baking Powder Biscuit recipe.

To assemble the strawberry shortcake:
First make sweetened whipped cream by beating together 1 cup heavy cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. 

Slice the baking powder biscuits in half.  Place the bottom half of the biscuit in a bowl.  Top the biscuit first with some juice from the strawberries and then a generous helping of the sliced strawberries.  Place the other half of the biscuit on top of the berries. Spoon more strawberries on top of the biscuit.  Now add a generous dollop of the sweetened whipped cream. 

Strawberry Shortcake

There you have it, the perfect New England style strawberry shortcake.

Enjoy!



6 comments:

  1. I have a TON of blackberries and blueberries I pick every year, do you have an EASY (can't stress that enough lol) cobbler recipe?

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  2. Oh lord, Donna. This looks delicious. I've never made completely homemade strawberry shortcake. I'll have to try it!

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  3. Yummy!!!! I want to make some now.

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  4. That looks soooo good. The only thing I would do different, because I already do, is after drowning the cake/biscuit in strawberries and before the whip cream, add a scoop of french vanilla ice cream. my oh my.

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  5. Ooh, Dazee, that would be yummy. I have never tried icecream with it as well. Oh boy!

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  6. Blueyes, I'm not big on cobblers. I prefer crisps. I have a yummy crisp recipe that I'm happy to share. Have you heard of slumps? I have a yummy blueberry slump recipe as well. It is basically stewed blueberries with dumplings, served wit vanilla icecream and a dollop of whipped cream and you have heaven in a bowl. Both of these have yet to be shared on the blog, but will be in the future.

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