Friday, May 27, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake 101

Memorial Day picnic was always at my maternal grandparents, who happen to live about 200 yards in front of my parent's home.  In fact, the land that my parents built their final home was part of the farm my grandfather had bought after he retired (the first time) from the Marine Corps.  I fell in love with cream soda at this picnic and looked forward to making desserts that would be devoured after hamburgers, hotdogs, cold salads, and yes, fried chicken.

One of my favorite desserts of the summer is Strawberry Shortcake and once I saw these beautiful berries in the store, I knew I'd make my mother's shortcake to accompany them.  Her biscuits recipe is simple, but seems to showcase so well the sweet, red strawberries that are showing up in your local grocery store.  These are still coming from California, but I noticed the deeper red and just one bite, I could taste pure sunshine!

Strawberry Shortcake is one of those desserts that just puts a smile on your face.  I like the biscuit-like shortcake, but you could also use pound cake or even angel food cake.  However, to me those wouldn't evoke the memories that this did today.

Strawberry Shortcake 101
2 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 T + 2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. Kosher salt
3 T granulated sugar
8 T (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
3/4 to 1 cup cold buttermilk*
1 egg to brush the top of the biscuits with

*the amount of buttermilk maybe determined by the humidity in the air--when the dough comes together, you've added enough.

2 pints Strawberries

1-2 cups heavy cream 
1-2 T confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla paste or extract

For the Shortcake:
Preheat oven to 425F-degrees.  In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix all the dry ingredients to combine.  Add the cold butter pieces and on med/low speed mix until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Add the cold buttermilk, slowly and when the mixture comes together...stop mixing.  Turn out onto a dough board and knead lightly just until the dough comes together.
Roll dough to 3/4-inch and use a 3 or 4-inch round cutter, dipped in flour, to press into the dough.  Lift up and if the dough remains in the cutter, bring it over to a parchment lined baking sheet and push out.  Repeat with remaining dough, bringing the scrapes together once more to cut more biscuits.
 I cut 5 large biscuits, but if your cutter is smaller, you could get 6-8.  Place all biscuits on the baking sheet with about 1 inch in between.  Brush the tops with the beaten egg.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the pan once.  Let cool.

Meanwhile, stem and slice the strawberries.  Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the berries to macerate, 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

To assemble, whip the heavy cream with a whisk attachment.  I was excited to use the copper bowl that my daughter, Erin, gave me for Mother's Day.  It takes a little arm strength, but it can be a good workout.  Once the heavy cream has reached the consistency, add the confectioners' sugar and then, the vanilla paste or extract.
Use a serrated knife to slice the shortcakes in half.  Spoon the strawberries over the bottom of the biscuit, then, place the top over them.
Lastly, be generous in spooning the whipped cream on top of the shortcake.  Grab a fork and dig's that easy.

Our grandson, Ari is doing his first camping out this weekend and Madison is going to a petting zoo.  Our picnics are in the past and we're just hoping it doesn't rain tomorrow here in the Pacific Northwest.  What's important, is remembering all the men and women who have served this country in the military.  Especially in our family, my great grandfather, both grandfathers, my Dad, three brothers and two nephews.  Enjoy!



  1. Yum! strawberry shortcake one of my all time favorites.
    stamping sue

  2. Always a favorite here too! Love strawberries fixed any way at all! Another of my faves is a strawberry spinach salad recipe I got years ago in Sunset mag. Yummy!

  3. it is memorial day there...i forget these things living overseas. glad you reminded me...yes remembering all those who served our country. a country i miss so deeply. will never take it for granted again. x.

  4. I have never made my own shortcake!
    Thanks for your recipe...

  5. Hap-pei Memorial day! I hope these will last a week too! I have a feeling the new lifestyle plan is going to need to a take break while I am there!

  6. Mmm, nothing like a sweet strawberry shortcake to put smiles on everyone's faces. Thanks for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday.