Thursday, July 5, 2012
For July 4, what better dessert to make than strawberry shortcake? I was curious about the recipe, although I adapted it to what I had available. It is a recipe for a large single strawberry shortcake. The shortcake itself is more like a sweet biscuit than anything else. It's not a sponge cake--its much more dense and slightly dry.
Strawberry Shortcake, adapted from "Jennie Paddleford's Strawberry Shortcake"
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
11 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup whole milk
at least 1 quart strawberries, more if you have them
about 3 tablespoons sugar/quart of strawberries, more or less to taste
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 heaping teaspoons confectioners sugar--more or less to taste
Mix together flour, baking powder, freshly ground nutmeg, salt, and sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives, as you would for making a pie crus. Mix the milk and egg, then make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and mix together with a fork. The mixture will not come together completely--turn it out onto a floured counter and knead briefly until the dough comes together. Don't overwork the dough. Cut dough in half, roll out into a 9" circle for two circles. Place the dough into two 9 inch cake pans then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. While they are chilling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake about 15-17 minutes until the shortcakes begin to brown and have cooked through. Turn out onto cooling racks and let cool to room temperature.
To prepare strawberries, hull them and cut into halves or fourths. Sprinkle with sugar, then let them macerate for 15 to 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. In a mixing bowl, mix the cream and confectioners sugar. Using a hand mixer, whip until the cream is firm and begins to look a little dry. Don't over mix or you'll end up with butter!
Assemble the shortcake by putting whipped cream and about half the strawberries on one shortcake. Top with the second shortcake and add the rest of the whipped cream and strawberries. If not eating right away, store in the refrigerator.
So, here's the play by play:
Overall, I like the recipe, although if I had it to do over I would use more strawberries. The shortcakes are not sweet and spongy, like one would get at the grocery store, but they do have their own special charm. The original recipe calls for buttering the shortcakes when they come out of the oven, and serving them warm with strawberries, with a pitch of cream on the side to pour over individual portions, should you want to try it the original way.