Hello and Welcome to the 3rd installment of Seasonal Food Friday! The guest of honor this week is Berries! Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries.... All kinds of ripe luscious fruit from the vine or shrub. Berries of all shapes and colors are said to be quite good for you. They're supposed to be full of antioxidants, however no studies have been completed in the US or Europe that prove this theory definitively. I'm sure that no matter what any future studies might say, people will continue to eat and thoroughly enjoy berries because well.... they just taste good!
This is the time of year for refreshing, sweet berry desserts to be eaten on warm nights in the garden or on the front porch swing. In my mind, that conjures up Shortcakes, Buckles and Cobblers! Oh yeah, I almost forgot... muffins and breads too!
Are you drooling yet? I know I am! I've been daydreaming lately about Strawberry Shortcake and if the weather cooperates for a little grilling this weekend, we might just have a few people over for dinner and have shortcake for dessert! I think I know a certain uncle who'd be more than happy to partake in this luscious summer treat! So, it kinda goes without saying that this weeks recipe is for Strawberry Shortcake!
I generally make one large shortcake and put the juicy berries and whipped cream either on the top or if the mood strikes me, I'll split it in half and put the berries and cream in the middle. Mama almost always made a single shortcake instead of individual biscuits. It's a real time saver when you don't feel like scooping out one biscuit at a time and want that still warm "from the oven" goodness. There is such a difference between a warm sweet shortcake and cold biscuits made in advance. Some of you might be surprised to hear this from me, but I actually use a boxed biscuit mix to make my shortcake. It's fast and easy and this is definitely a case where the pre-made mix is just as good as any scratch version I've made.
Mrs B's Strawberry Shortcake
(this shortcake can be made in the same manner with all kinds of berries - it's up to you!)
- 2 Quarts of Fresh Strawberries, sliced or quartered
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar (I know... sounds like quite a bit, but it's for a lot of berries)
- 3 or 4 Tbls of Grand Marnier or other Orange flavored liquor (optional)
After rinsing them under cold water, slice or chop the strawberries and put them in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar (and the liquor if you're using it) and stir them well. Cover and set them aside, either on the counter or in the fridge for at least 1 hour, stirring from time to time to mix everything well and bring out as much juice as possible.
- 4 & 2/3 Cups Bisquick (or other baking mix)
- 1 & 1/3 Cup of Milk
- 1/4 Cup (generous) Granulated Sugar
- 6 Tbls Butter, melted
- Extra butter and sugar the top of the shortcake
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Mix the first four ingredients with a sturdy wooden spoon or the paddle attachment in a stand mixer, until combined. Gently pat the dough out into a 9 inch round, non-stick cake pan and bake it for about 15 to 17 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (there can be a few dry crumbs but not any "wet" or uncooked dough) About 5 minutes after it comes out of the oven, spread the top with a bit of room temperature butter and sprinkle it with a dusting of granulated sugar. Allow about another 5 to 7 minutes before cutting it. (it will still be nice and warm)
The Whipped Cream
- 1 Pint Heavy or Whipping Cream, very well chilled
- 5 or 6 Tbls Granulated Sugar, depending on taste
Pour cream into a very cold (preferably stainless steel) bowl and using a hand mixer or on a stand mixer, beat on medium high speed until it starts to thicken. (I put my bowl and beaters into the freezer until the moment I'm ready to use them) Stop the mixer or slow it down and add the sugar, gradually. Continue to mix it until you get soft peaks, but not any further or you'll end up with butter. Not such a bad thing if that's what you're going for, but it's not as good as whipped cream is on shortcake! Well.... I guess that depends on who you're talking to! LOL
Once the shortcake has cooled slightly, you can either slice it right from the pan and serve it with the berries and whipped cream on the side for everyone to make their own, OR if you have dinner guests and want to be a little fancier, you can do it this way: Turn the shortcake out onto a pretty plate and using a sharp or serrated knife, slice it in half horizontally. Spoon a generous portion of the strawberries and their juices on the bottom half and then spoon an equally generous amount of the whipped cream on top of them. Gently and carefully place the top half of the cake over the fillings and serve it whole at the table with any extra berries and cream on the side in pretty bowls.
I have plenty of recipes for Bettys, Cobblers, Buckles, Breads and Muffins that I'll be posting in the coming months. Lot's of them use berries and many use summer "stone" fruits like peaches and plums. If you decide to give this shortcake a try, I'd love to have you stop back and let me know if you liked it!
Live Well, Eat Well!
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