Friday, May 14, 2010
Spring Has Sprung, The Grass Has Riz, Here Is Where The Shortcake Is!!
I love strawberry shortcake. I love everything about strawberry shortcake. The various sorts of cakey doughs and biscuits involved, the types of whipped creams crowning it and the varieties of fruits and other delicious additions that are involved in the filling.
I love strawberry shortcake so much that years ago when I was a DJ in Los Angeles, I used to host a Strawberry Shortcake Festival every year, and have a lot of embarrassing pictures of myself to prove it. In fact, I'll show you one of me feeding strawberry shortcake to two creepy sponsor guys in 70's polyester suits. (I think they were from Reynolds Wrap or some such place ) Yikes!
Ok, so now that I have humiliated (and dated) myself, one of the best things about shortcake are the zillions of recipes for it. Every diner and dive and five star restaurant, every mom and pop and grandma and great-aunt Ellie seem to have a treasured secret shortcake recipe.
Psssssst. So do I.
I made strawberry shortcake last week for my Tuscan going away dinner for two friends off to see family and in-laws in Japan.
Here's the recipe I used. It's my adaptation of an old classic, and it serves 8. Which in this case means...Leftovers!
In a large bowl mix together:
2 and 1/4 cups of flour
6 Tbs of sugar
4 and 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1 and 1/2 Tbs of grated orange zest
1/4 tsp of salt
9 Tbs of unsalted butter
Cut it in with a pastry blender or two forks.
When it's ready the dough will resemble meal.
3/4 cups plus 3 Tbs. of whipping cream.
Mix it well until you have a dough.
Turn it out onto a floured surface and give it about 6 turns kneading, then flatten it into a 3/4 inch round.
Using a round cookie cutter cut dough rounds. You should get about 8 shortcake rounds out of this dough.
Put the rounds on a heavy ungreased cookie sheet, and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes until they've puffed and turned golden.
Cool them slightly on a wire rack.
These can be served warm. I made them a few hours ahead and they worked just fine. If you want to re-heat them at serving time, put them in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.
Now for the filling!!!!
Wash and slice a 16 oz basket of strawberries
Add in 2 Tbs of sugar
1 Tbs of raspberry preserves
1 Tbs of lemon juice
Mix this well and set it aside to mellow for an hour or two.
Then it's time to construct your shortcakes. I will not tell you exactly how to do it, as I believe that the construction of the interior of a strawberry shortcake is as much a deeply personal matter as is how one enjoys it.
It's strawberry season, let the games begin!!!