Thursday, June 14, 2012

strawberry shortcakes

The temperature is definitely heating up on the East Coast which means that baking will soon come to a halt any day now. Although sometimes when fruit looks this good, like the strawberries I found and the Union Square GreenmarketI will pump up the A/C and make a few baking exceptions.

I have a little confession I'd like to make.....Not everything I make/bake comes out picture perfect. For example, these shortcakes. This was the first time I had ever made this recipe but it's not going to be my last because these shortcakes are tasty!!! Mine looked kinda like a big blob of baked biscuit dough but when I topped them off with the strawberries and whipped cream, they were pretty and delicious. If you're offended by my post and want to look at a more beautiful and detailed recipe, go to smitten kitchen.

I also made the mistake by toasting it in my toaster which burned the nice sparkly sugar I had sprinkled on top. Oh well.....

Strawberry Shortcakes
a few tweaks made to the original recipe via smitten kitchen adapted from Claudia Fleming and Russ Parsons
Serves 6

1 2/3 cups (224 grams) all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons (50 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (20 grams) baking powder
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
a scrape of a vanilla bean or a few drops of vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2/3 cup (168 grams) plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream or 1 egg slightly beaten for a wash
course sugar or sanding sugar for finishing

pint of strawberries
lemon juice
whipping cream 
vanilla extract

In the bowl of a food processor, or with a pastry cutter, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, and salt and vanilla bean/extract if using. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the flour resembles coarse meal. Add 2/3 cup of cream and pulse until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a ball. Then pat it into a rough circle about 6 to 7 inches in diameter, and 3/4 to 1 inch thick.

By using a sharp knife, you can cut the circle into 6 wedges or you can use a cookie cutter to make shapes of your choice. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 

Chill for 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350˚. Brush tops of the shortcakes lightly with heavy cream or egg wash and sprinkle lightly with course sugar. Bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Rotate sheet halfway through to ensure even baking.

In the meantime, quarter your strawberries and toss in a bowl with sugar to taste and a little lemon juice. Whip cream to soft peaks, adding sugar and vanilla extract to taste.

You can either split the cakes in half horizontally or leave whole, dollop with sweetened whipped cream and a large spoonful of strawberries.

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