Sunday, July 3, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake for Independence Day

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this Strawberry Shortcake recipe from the 1970s Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It was subsequently replaced - in newer BH&G cookbooks - with a lower fat version; you know, replacing the cream with milk and so on.  I find the old one much more delicious.

What I really like about this recipe is:

1) It's not terribly sweet. That makes it a good dessert for my German family members, who don't have the American sugar addiction. (It is, however, loaded with creamy goodness.)

2) It's biscuit! That's distinctively American! American biscuits use baking powder. (Unlike the English versions of biscuits which we call cookies.) Baking powder gained it's American popularity as a cheap and easy-to-store alternative to yeast for pioneers prior to the Civil War. And I think we did baking powder good.

Unfortunately, you have to follow the directions pretty carefully on this recipe. No over-stirring, or, for example, just throwing everything in a bowl and hitting high on the mixer.

Ahem, not that I would normally bake that way.

No really, since I typically ignore about half of any given recipe, I'm putting the not-to-be-ignored parts in CAPS.

I actually made a shortcake for Father's Day. It was gone before I could take a photo. But I thought someone might enjoy this flash-back-to-the-70s (60s?) strainer.

Strawberry Shortcake

For the topping:
3-4 cups strawberries
1 cup whipped cream (we always use more, thanks to Fritz' favorite kitchen gadget.)

For the shortcake biscuit:
2 cups SIFTED flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 BEATEN egg
2/3 cup light cream (I used whipping cream on Father's Day and that worked, too.)

  • SIFT dry ingredients and cut in butter
  • combine egg and light cream IN A SEPARATE BOWL
  • add egg mixture to dry ingredients UNTIL JUST MOIST
  • spread in GREASED 8 inch round pan
  • MOUND SLIGHTLY TOWARDS THE EDGES (I think the idea here is that the biscuit will rise more in the middle and you want to counter-balance this effect.)
  • bake at 450 degree fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes 
  • cool 5 minutes
  • remove from pan and cut in 2 layers
  • butter the bottom layer
  • spread strawberries and whipped cream over top (We put them in the middle, too. See, I really can't follow a recipe.)

Fritz always wants to know the difference between whipping cream and whipped cream. I don't really know this for sure, because (and since he asked, I've noticed) we Americans are casually inconsistent about our cream nomenclature. However, I think, whipping cream is the liquid state, and whipped cream is the solid-ish state. Or, at least, that's the way I wrote this recipe.

No comments: