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Sunday, 6 July 2008

strawberry short cake (WTSIM…! #17)

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Waiter, there's something in my... recipe: strawberry short cake (biscuits) with fresh strawberries and whipped cream; (this is a YeastSpotting post)

Waiter, there’s something in my… berried treasure!

strawberries (It’s such a relief to know that I’m not the only person who thinks that “buried” rhymes with “berried”! – how on earth did some English speakers morph the pronunciation of “buried” to rhyme with “hurried”?? It never ceases to amaz… cough… excuse me; I’ll get back on track.)

There are so many possibilities for berried treasures! Raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, Saskatoon berries*, etc. etc.

But at this time of year, with strawberries at their peak, there’s really only one that springs to mind.

strawberry shortcake Strawberry short cake!

And not the strawberry short cake of my youth that was a sponge cake with strawberries and cream. My aunts used to use Angelfood cake for their strawberry shortcakes. (How did we dare to call either of those short cakes?? Angelfood cake doesn’t even have any fat at all, does it?)

Not that there’s anything lacking or wrong with those versions! Oh my no. They’re wonderful. (Mom uses this cake (made with rice flour instead of wheat flour) when she makes strawberry shortcake.)

(click on images for larger views and more photos)

For her recent post for Mmm…Canada!, Val (More than Burnt Toast) made the spongecake version of strawberry shortcake. She wrote:

In Canada, as a general rule, we are given a British based short-“cake” and in the States they make a biscuit out of “short”-ening. Is it “short” or is it “cake”…who cares…both versions are delicious.”

I always thought that the biscuits were from the Scottish immigrants and the cake from the English ones. Whatever the reason for the difference, it’s just that the biscuit version is what we had a hankering for.

biscuits With biscuits. With biscuits that were cooked in the barbecue (it was too hot outside to be turning the oven on indoors). Because biscuits don’t get even remotely soggy when covered in strawberry juice.

Mmmm… strawberry juice! There’s nothing better than strawberry juice from fresh strawberries! Drizzled and oozing out of biscuits that are covered in strawberries and slathered with whipped cream.

Here’s how T made strawberry shortcake:

Strawberry Short Cake

strawberries

  • fresh strawberries
  • sugar
  • dash of salt

biscuits

  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ c lukewarm water
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ c lard (or butter)
  • 2 Tbsp plain yoghurt
  • ¾ c milk

cream

  • good shot of whipping cream
  • sugar, to taste
  1. strawberries A couple of hours (or so) before serving the shortcake, wash the strawberries well to remove dirt, pesticides, cooties, etc. Shake off any excess water. Hull and cut in half or quarter and place in a bowl. Sprinkle on sugar (to taste – not too much, not too little…). Set aside in refrigerator to let the sugar go to work on releasing the strawberry juice. If you are using imported strawberries, let the strawberries sit overnight to release more flavour.
  2. biscuits In a small bowl, stir the yeast and a little of the sugar in the lukewarm water (do the baby’s bottle test on your wrist) til it is creamy. Set aside in a warmish place on the counter. (Yeast will die if the temperature exceeds 120F.)
  3. Whisk dry ingredients (including the rest of the sugar) in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Mix in the lard until it is pea sized. If your hands are cool and dry, use your hands. If your hands are warm, use a knife or pastry cutter.
  5. Add wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon just until it all holds together.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Knead about 20 times. Pat it out to around ½" and cut into rounds. Place in an ungreased cast iron frying pan.
  7. Let sit in the pan for 6 or 7 minutes.
  8. Preheat the barbecue. Place pan on grill, close the lid and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. Note: start with direct heat and switch to using indirect heat after about 5 minutes. If you’re using the oven, bake on middle or one higher shelf of the oven at 400F. Remove from pan and set on a rack to cool.
  9. cream In a small bowl, whip cream til it forms peaks. Add sugar to taste. Even if you don’t like sweet whipped cream (I don’t) you still have to add a little bit of sugar to ensure that the cream holds its shape.
  10. assembly Cut the biscuits in half, cover with strawberries, strawberry juice and as much whipping cream as you want.

Plain yoghurt is a nice addition as well – to cut the sweetness of the shortcake and strawberries.

We loved this so much that we had to go out and buy more strawberries. And this time, I’m a bit ashamed to say that we bought the California strawberries that are bigger, more uniformly shaped and redder than their Ontario cousins but in my opinion taste much less vividly like strawberries. Why? Because they were $1 less for the same amount of strawberries!

T was convinced that with sugar added to them, the strawberries would become strawberry-like. Surprisingly, this is true. But it still pains me greatly to have caved in and bought California strawberries (that are, no doubt, GM, laced with pesticides, and picked when hard as rocks). As I said earlier, (read more ranting about high cost of organic/local ingredients) we WANT to support the local growers! It’s getting pretty ridiculous that strawberries that have travelled thousands of miles and then hundreds of kilometers cost LESS than strawberries that travel less than a hundred kilometers. Are the prices for Ontario strawberries higher because we consumers are having to offset winter and summer fuel costs? Are the prices for California strawberries lower because their producers are trying to ensure they have the market cornered? I really would like a sensible explanation…

Waiter, there’s something in my… (WTSIM…)

Waiter, there's something in my... Jeanne (Cook Sister!) is hosting June’s WTSIM…. The theme is “berried treasure”. Here is what she wrote in the announcement:

The only requirement is that you use berries – small fruit, growing on a bush or vine as opposed to a tree – not just any old fruit.

Here are the rules for participation:

  1. Write up your berry recipe and please link back to this announcement in your post. Please note that it MUST be a new post featuring your dish [...]
  2. The deadline for entries is Sunday 6 July [2008] – slightly later than usual because [Jeanne] will be on holiday

Once again, the deadline for WTSIM… berried treasure! is 6 July, 2008. If you would like to participate, please read the following for more information:

 

* I’m green with envy. My sister said she got some Saskatoon berries recently. Mmm… saskatoon berry pie….

 

edit 7 July 2008:
In the comments below, Susan inadvertantly reminded me that this may qualify as a “Yeastspotting” post.

YeastSpotting

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of blog posts having to do with bread. She wrote:

Are you going to bake with yeast (wild or baker’s) in the coming week? Or will you make a dish with bread as a starring ingredient? If you’d like to be included in next week’s rundown, just include the word YeastSpotting in your post, with a link [...]

For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

edit 18 July 2008:
Whoohooo!! A couple of days ago, Jeanne posted the WTSIM…Berried Treasures roundup.

  1. Comment by your sister — 6 July 2008 @ 12:47 EDT

    I got the frozen Saskatoons at Culinarium at Mount Pleasant and Eglinton (in Toronto). http://www.culinarium.ca/

    I was in the store a couple of days ago, and they had _fresh_ Saskatoon berries; apparently it’s just the beginning of the season for them. Pretty expensive, $3.50 for a tiny basket (the kind that raspberries usually come in) . I think the frozen ones were cheaper, but I can’t remember how much we paid for them.

  2. Comment by Bellini Valli — 6 July 2008 @ 16:01 EDT

    I love the biscuit version too Elizabeth. No matter what it is the perfect foile for seasonal strawberries…absolutely nothing better :D

  3. Comment by Susan/Wild Yeast — 7 July 2008 @ 13:26 EDT

    I’m a biscuit gal too. Yours are interesting because I’ve not seen them made with yeast before.

  4. Comment by ejm — 7 July 2008 @ 17:36 EDT

    I know what you mean, Val. Even no cake or biscuit at all as long as there are strawberries and cream. :-)

    So, B? Have you made the Saskatoon berry pie yet? (Mmmm… pie….)

    We got the idea for yeast in biscuits from Paula Deen. We still don’t know if it really makes a difference but the resulting biscuits really are good. (I completely forgot to put “yeastspotting” into this post, Susan. I’ve edited it now.)

    -Elizabeth

  5. Comment by CAM — 7 July 2008 @ 20:45 EDT

    I’m way too lazy to make cake or biscuits! Here on Vancouver Island the strawberries are very late this year. But they are large, sweet — fabulous! I had to test a few when washing them etc, and they were just delicious. But I couldn’t resist doing something to make them fancier, so I sloshed a bit of Cointreau over them and left them for a couple of hours. Covered with whipped cream! Mmmm. Alas, there were none left for a snack today. Berried treasure indeed!

    edit 8 July 2008: Ah but biscuits are perfect for the lazy baker. They take about 2 minutes to mix (if you’re going very slowly) and about 10 minutes to cook… Mmm!! Cointreau-laced strawberries sound great. Perfect to go with cream on biscuits! I might even be tempted to scatter a little orange zest overtop of the cream. (But the zest addition is definitely not for the lazy person; that might add another minute to the preparation. :-)) -ejm

  6. Pingback by YeastSpotting July 11, 2008 | Wild Yeast — 11 July 2008 @ 03:01 EDT

    [...] Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits ~ blog from OUR kitchen [...]

  7. Comment by brilynn — 11 July 2008 @ 13:53 EDT

    I usually go berry picking in the summer so I can freeze tons of fruit for later but haven’t been yet this year. The strawberries have been lacking too, I guess the weather didn’t cooperate with them this year, the farmer I usually get them from doesn’t have any. That shortcake looks great though and even better done on the bbq!

  8. Comment by Paz — 12 July 2008 @ 12:12 EDT

    I’d really love to taste your strawberry shortcake. Thanks for the recipe.

    Paz

  9. Comment by Jeanne — 13 July 2008 @ 18:58 EDT

    Yay- great to have you at WTSIM again! And this recipe fascinates me – I think of strawberry shortcake as being strawberries and cream with shortbread cookies – never thought of having it with biscuits (or what we would call scones). Oh yes, actually I have thought if it, only I’d call it scones with strawberries and cream ;-) Tomay-to, tomah-to… it looks glorious anyway and thanks very much for joining us this month.

    PS – buried rhyming with hurried?? Noooooooooo! Next you’ll be telling me there are some people who don’t pronounce the second i in aluminium :o)

  10. Comment by ejm — 14 July 2008 @ 09:06 EDT

    I’m too lazy to go berry picking (doesn’t it hurt your knees, Brilynn?) except to take the occasional raspberry from a roadside bush when bike-riding in the Niagara region. Good idea to freeze fruit for later use though. Do you have to blanch it first?

    It’s really good shortcake, isn’t it Paz?

    Jeanne, those biscuits aren’t scones because of their shape. Scones are triangular…. :-) But whatever their name, they’re great with strawberries and cream. (WHAT second “i” in aluminum are you talking about :!: :? )

    -Elizabeth

  11. Comment by Jude — 15 July 2008 @ 22:25 EDT

    A good shot of whipping cream huh? In my case that’s going to be a LOT. :)

    Heh… that’s the beauty of not specifying in the recipe just how much cream, Jude. That was exactly what my husband said when he was assembling the plates: “We need lots of cream!” -Elizabeth

 

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