Strawberry Shortcake

by Helana Brigman | July 13, 2010 7:00 am

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I never really cared that much for Strawberry Shortcake.  There.  I said it.  But you can’t blame me—I was introduced to it in the completely wrong way.  As amazing of a chef as Rebecca Faustini (my mom) was, her skills never really went far in the baking section.  If we had Strawberry Shortcake it was those round, processed, air-bread-esque “cakes” from the grocery store, with un-macerated strawberries, and lowfat whipped cream.  It just…wasn’t…very tasty.  It was actually…kind of gross.  All I would ever eat were the strawberries.

But, let’s be honest, Strawberry Shortcake NEVER has to be this way.  I had an unique experience, and with the right ingredients, strawberry shortcake biscuits, cream, and fruit sauce can be pretty freaking amazing. Everyone I’ve ever come into contact with LOVES strawberry shortcake, and I, as someone who studies the nineteenth-century, has a cultural obligation to like Strawberry Shortcake.

Thus, in a moment of culinary crisis, I knew that one food blogger could show me the light: Elise Bauer.  I went to Elise’s Simply Recipes [1]and looked up her version of Strawberry Shortcakes[2].  It looked easy enough (and it was), and the result was a flavorful , rich, creamy, buttery, oh-my-god-I-want-to-eat-this-all-the-time experience.  Try this clearly delicious variation of traditional Strawberry Shortcake with homemade butter biscuits, and sweet (but not too sweet) strawberry preserves, and you will too.

Strawberry Shortcake

I’ve pretty much followed Elise’s recipe word for word below; no real changes to the ingredients, or process except for two personal discoveries: one, I think the dough should be transferred directly to a floured baking sheet when first made (none of this floured surface, THEN baking sheet stuff.  It’s just a mess.  Secondly, I’ve adjusted the temperature and cooking time, that’s all.

Ingredients:

–Strawberry Preserves–

* 3 baskets fresh strawberries (about 2 lbs)

* 1/2 cup sugar

–Homemade Biscuits–

* 3 cups all purpose flour

* 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

* 1 1/2 Tablespoon Baking Powder

* 3/4 teaspoon salt

* 12 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces

* 1 1/2 cup heavy cream

* 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.) Begin by macerating the strawberries: wash and clean strawberries, remove stems, and cut into very tiny (1/4 inch thick) slices.

2.) Add quartered strawberries to a large bowl.  Sprinkle with sugar and mix to combine.

3.) Allow strawberries to sit for 20 minutes (or longer) at room temperature so that they may release their natural juices.  After about 20 minutes, take a potato masher to them and press them down pretty well.  Make sure not to over-mash the strawberries as you still want them to retain about 90% of their original form, but you do want them to release more juices.  Set aside.

4.) Now make the biscuits: begin by cutting 12 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter into small pieces.  Set aside.

5.) Take flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar and add to a large mixing bowl.  Using a whisk, whisk to combine, or using a food processor, pulse several times to combine.

6.) Transfer mixed flour to food processor if you haven’t already done so.  Add cut up butter to the dry ingredients and pulse to combine until fully integrated.

7.) Then, add 1 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to the mixture and pulse until a shaggy dough forms.

8.) Transfer dough to a well-floured baking sheet and shape into an 8×8 inch square (3/4 of an inch thick, ideally).  Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes, or a little longer.

9.) Preheat oven to 350F.  Remove dough from refrigerate, unwrap, and cut into 9 squares.

10.) Separate nine squares on baking sheet so that the biscuits are no longer touching.

11.) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling wrack.

12.) When ready, construct shortcake: break up 1 biscuit into pieces and stack with macerated strawberries and whipped cream.  I like to use 1/2 of the biscuit for the bottom, add macerated strawberries (and juice), then the second half of the biscuit, macerated strawberries, whipped cream, and more macerated strawberries.  It tastes good and looks pretty!  Makes 9.  Enjoy!

Castella or Kasutera[3]

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Endnotes:
  1. Simply Recipes : http://simplyrecipes.com
  2. Strawberry Shortcakes: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/strawberry_shortcake/
  3. [Image]: http://www.mycitycuisine.org/wiki/Castella_or_Kasutera
  4. [Image]: http://www.linkwithin.com/

Source URL: http://www.clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com/2010/strawberry-shortcake/