Strawberry Shortcake 101 (wow, this is post #100, who knew you Folks would keep reading?)

Simple rustic recipes will always win me over compared to fancy, multi-step, complicated recipes. I believe this is due to the fact that once I decide I want to eat something, I really don’t want a big fuss standing in the way to the final product. This applies to snacks, main dishes and desserts as far as I’m concerned.

This recipe is so simple, so rustic, it looks homemade. You’re not going to win awards for plating, but you may bring the folks at the table to a wonderfully peaceful and heartfilled place. Strawberry shortcake, to be really delicious, must be done when the berries are truly in season. The strawberries are the headliner of the show, the shortcake is the stage and the whipped cream is the gown, but the Berry, oh, she is the Star!

There are three simple parts to this recipe. Prepping the berries, making the dough for the shortcake and throwing that in the oven, and while that’s baking, whipping up the cream. I prefer to serve this while the shortcake is warm, and the berries are room temp. I’m convinced that this brings out the best flavors in all of the components.

Rustic Strawberry Shortcake by MadMadme

Strawberry Treatment
• 2 pints of fresh strawberries
• 1 tsp fresh citrus juice (I prefer orange juice)
• 1/8 cup sugar or Honey

Wash berries, cut small berries in ½ and large berries into ¼’s. Drizzle citrus juice, and sprinkle sugar over berries. Gently fold together, you do not want to bruise the berries. Let sit in a covered bowl, stirring occasionally a few more times until the sugar is dissolved and a syrup is created. Done.

Drop Biscuit Shortcake bake at 450° F for 15 minutes
• 2 C flour
• ½ C sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 ½ tsp baking powder
• 4 Tbl chilled butter, cut into very small cubes (approx ¼ inch)-You will get very different results if your butter is not chilled.
• ¾ – 1 C whole milk -The amount of milk will depend on the humidity and the moistness of your flour. I typically start with ¾ C, but if my dough will not hold together, I will add the remaining ¼ C.
•  1 Tbl vanilla extract
• 3 Tbl cream
• 1 T sugar or cinnamon sugar
+ • 1 C cream reserved for serving

I enjoy Master Recipes. They are easy to memorize, alter and offer good results each time. I have ONE recipe for all of my biscuits, scones, shortcakes and quick pastries. This recipe is just a sweetened variation of my Mater recipe. The fat is very important to texture and crumb. So when asked if it’s ok to cut the fat, of course it is, you will still get a lovely treat but it will be less supple, denser, and dryer. Know this ahead of time, and you can decide if that is the result you will be pleased with. I prefer using the fat, and eating less of a marvelous thing, then eating more of a lesser thing.

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl (you may sift the ingredients for a very light texture but it is not necessary to do so). Cut in butter until you have a corn meal like consistency. To speed up this part, I do the dough in my food processor. I put my dry ingredients in, pulse a few time to incorporate. Then I add my butter, pulse a few more time to get the corn meal consistency. Combine the vanilla and the milk, poor in all at once, and combine in as few strokes (or pulses) as possible. Done. Your dough should be very thick and sticky, but not wet.

Use a lined baking sheet, I always bake with parchment paper because I want the bottom of everything to taste as good as the top! Drop large spoonfuls (I use an ice cream scoop) onto baking sheet a couple of inches apart. Dab or brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar or cinnamon sugar.  Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, or until they are getting golden speckles on top. This recipe will yield between 8-10 scone sized shortcakes.

Whipped Cream
1 pint whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbl sugar

Whip cream, and vanilla until peaks form, do not over whip. Fold in sugar to sweeten.

Assembly
Once the shortcakes have set (about 10 minutes) they are ready to be eaten. Break apart a shortcake, pile a scoop of strawberries and the sauce they are in right in the middle. Top it with a mound of whipped cream and drizzle a bit of cream (1/8 C approx) into the bowl itself. It’s a bit of Heaven and a lot of Summer, hanging out together in one place. Enjoy!

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