Wednesday, July 08, 2009

strawberry shortcake

I know. I should have taken a picture.

For the Fourth, I made strawberry shortcake for dessert. The shortcakes were my great-grandmother's recipe, the strawberries from our farmer's market, and the basil-cinnamon whipped cream my own little addition. It was truly celebratory.

Let's start with the cream.

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 t cinnamon
Mix the ingredients and heat in a saucepan on medium heat until it begins to simmer; don't bring it to a boil. Let it steep until it is cool enough to touch and then transfer to a bowl and put in the refrigerator until it is cold. (It won't whip unless it's really cold). When you are ready to whip it, strain the liquid, put it in a mixer, add sugar and vanilla to taste and let it whip.

Note: heat the cream before you begin everything else; whip it just before serving.

And now the strawberries.
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 T orange or lemon juice
The process, called macerating the strawberries, is simple, though the word sounds far more violent than the process deserves. Again, do this ahead of time so the strawberries have time to do their thing in the sugar and vinegar.

Finally, the shortcakes.
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sugar
Combine the dry ingredients and then cut in
1/2 cup butter (my great-grandmother used Crisco, I'm sure)
I use my food processor. When crumbly, add
3/4 cup milk
and mix until combined. Pour dough out on a floured surface and roll out just enough to make it about a half an inch thick. Cut into rounds (I use a biscuit cutter) and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

To serve, cut the shortcake in half. Put a small dollop of whipped cream on the plate; turn the top of the shortcake over and place on the whipped cream. Add more cream, strawberries, the other half of the shortcake (also inverted), and then more cream and berries.