Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Now, I made every effort to bake and complete the dessert challenge in a timely fashion. However, the day I baked up the shortcakes (Father's Day) was the same day we rushed my little man to the ER with his breathing issue. I had removed the shortcakes from the oven and they were left cooling on a rack the entire time we were gone and then a bit longer because I forgot to bag them up when we got home at 11:00 that night. Then they just sat on the counter for days, when I finally noticed they were growing a bit of lovely green mold.
After tossing them out, I kept thinking I should get on with the challenge and bake some more up, because the biscuits were really good! Alas, pregnancy tiredness and general laziness got in the way and I kept putting it off. Finally I figured yesterday was a good a day as any, especially since it was the 4th of July. So in between making BBQ crockpot ribs and sides, I baked up another batch of the biscuits, sliced and diced my berries, and whipped the cream to produce these:
Monday, June 28, 2010
Posted by - Something New is Cooking
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Yep, I used Dorie's recipe from her book, "Baking from My Home to Yours." The more, I bake from her book, the more, I love it. I think that everyone should have a copy in her home.
I did pretty well with this until the end, when I was going to add the whipped cream and strawberries. The craggy tops cracked and basically fell apart. I managed to save one for the picture. The bottoms stood up admirably. I am not smart enough to figure this one out. I did think, I might have handled the dough too much but I was really careful about that.
Dorie has a chocolate version and I am game to take the challenge and make that one and see the results. In the meanwhile, I will show you my partially craggy shortcake with delicious whipped cream and fresh strawberries. So good.
Below are the tops that look fine. I think they are supposed to have cracks. Dorie has a good description in her book and she uses words like cracked, cratery and raggedy. This fits the bill except that they fell apart.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Posted by - Rena
My name is Rena. I like bread products and I have no self control.
I had a big decision to make for this challenge. I put this off till the end of the month because I had my 20th high school reunion two weekends ago. No one needs extra pounds for an event like that. I had actually lost a bit of weight before the big weekend so I wasn't going to ruin it till it was over. I'll just say there were cupcakes involved in the post-weekend celebration.
I wanted to make biscuits for something else I was cooking this week. I couldn't possibly make biscuits AND shortcakes because that would be too much for me. It would be Breadfest 2010 over at casa Gray. So, I decided to skip the shortcakes and use the biscuits for the dessert. I figured it's all bread, it's all good - what could go wrong? Nothing really went wrong but the biscuits felt out of place on the plate. I don't actually know what the shortcakes are supposed to taste like since every time I've eaten this it's been made with angel food cake but I'm guessing they are a bit sweeter than these were.
The rest was pretty straight forward. I sprinkled a little sugar and lemon juice on the strawberries but not too much. I added some powdered sugar and vanilla beans to the whipped cream. I love using vanilla beans now that I don't have to pay $4 a bean! (thank you ebay) The only issue I had with the whipped cream is that my hand mixer went wonky on me and stopped working. I guess it served me well considering it cost $6 and lasted for a few good years. I had to whip the cream by hand. Clearly I need to spend even more time in the gym. We'll leave it at that.
It was very tasty! It's the perfect dessert for this time of the year because it's so light and you can sit on the couch 3 hours later dipping the rest of the strawberries in the vat of whipped cream. The gift that keeps on giving.
Friday, June 18, 2010
This month was my first participating in Have the Cake, and I was psyched to see that the challenge was strawberry shortcake, a birthday favorite of mine for many years. Now, strawberry shortcake pretty much embodies perfection as it is, so I was hesitant to mess around with it. The point of strawberry shortcake is that it’s a refreshing, simple balance of three flavors and textures that retain their integrity even as they blend. It’s not a dessert that you really want to fancify or complicate. That being said, however, it’s a challenge group – I wanted to get creative and find a new way to present an old favorite.
So I spent some time browsing the giant cookbook that is the internet for a recipe that would retain the simplicity of strawberry shortcake while also enhancing it. I found several incredibly appealing recipes – the second place recipe was hazelnut shortcakes with blackberries and cassis cream. But that seemed like too much of a departure from the original, so I passed on it, although don’t be surprised if it shows up on here soon – I’m a huge sucker for cassis.
I ended up sticking with a classic shortcake and a classic whipped cream, and only played with the filling. Before I tell you what it was though, let me just tell you this: it was really, really good. Like, I actually whimpered a little bit when I ate it. And I’m not trying to brag. I just want you to be able to whimper with gastronomic pleasure too.
The filling was rhubarb. Rhubarb compote and lemon curd. A bite including fluffy shortcake, tart rhubarb and lemon, and smooth, velvety cream was pretty much bliss. The biscuit-curd-cream combo would make it an exceptionally good teatime treat, although I also plan on eating it for breakfast tomorrow as well as for dessert for as many nights as it lasts. Basically, I would serve it to anyone, any day, at any time. And I would expect them to love me a measurable amount more than they did 5 minutes before I served it to them.
So a great first Have the Cake experience! I’m already stoked about next month. And before I go, some thanks are due: thank you to Joanne over at Eats Well with Others, which is one of my absolute favorite blogs to read, for hosting this month’s challenge, and thanks as well to Rainy Day Gal for the inspiration for this dessert!
Rhubarb and Lemon Curd Shortcakes
For the shortcakes: (Recipe adapted slightly from Alton Brown)
- 2 c. flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 2 TBS butter, chilled
- 2 TBS shortening
- 1 c. half and half or buttermilk
- Melted butter to brush shortcakes
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in butter and shortening in small pieces. Mix with a pastry cutter or fork, pressing butter into flour to make a crumbly mixture. Mix in half and half or buttermilk until fully incorporated. Drop dough onto greased or parchment-paper lined baking sheet with a large spoon. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown on top.
For the lemon curd:
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 c. sugar
- juice and zest of 3-4 medium lemons
- 2-4 TBS butter (optional)
Fill a medium sized pan halfway with water and bring to a low boil. In a smaller, metal pot or bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and juice and zest of lemons. Place egg-lemon mixture over boiling water and cook, whisking constantly, for 8-10 minutes, or until a thick curd has formed. Remove from heat and whisk in butter a tablespoon at a time. To store, press plastic wrap against the surface and refrigerate.
[Note: All curd recipes call for the addition of butter at the end. However, I completely forgot to add it this time, and didn't notice a difference. In fact, I liked the texture of the curd somewhat better without the butter! So it's completely up to personal preference whether or not to include it.]
For the rhubarb compote:
- 4 stalks (about 1 lb.) rhubarb, washed and trimmed
- 1/3. cup sugar
- 1/4 c. citrus juice or water (I used Simply Limeade)
Chop rhubarb into 1/2 inch pieces. Mix with sugar and citrus juice or water in a medium pan. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb has broken down and a compote has formed.
To serve shortcakes, slice open and spread a layer of lemon curd topped with a layer of rhubarb compote on the bottom shortcake. Replace shortcake top and slather with homemade whipped cream.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
In a small bowl, combine strawberries and sugar; cover and refrigerate until serving.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I was so delighted with this June challenge. This happens to be my favorite summer dessert. In my opinion, I prefer a biscuit type cake rather than a soft spongy cake for my Strawberry Shortcake. I used a soft tender cream scone that is to die for. I got this recipe from a very dear friend who happens to be from England, and they know their scones! I used fresh strawberries with strawberry jam and a touch of water to make the luscious juice. I finish it off with Chantilly Cream and it is delicious. I love it and I have a new recipe for strawberry shortcake. I hope you all give it a try this summer.
I imagine you can also use blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and peaches! Just subsitute the appropriate jams to match the fruit. It is so simple!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment
Make 6 scones
English Cream Scones
2 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
5 T. unsalted cold butter
3 T. sugar
1 cup cold heavy cream
In a food processor use metal blade, process all the dry ingredients; add butter and continue to process, until a fine meal. Add cold cream slowly until a ball forms. Remove and shape into a round disk about an inch high. Flour your suface board and place dough on board and cut into six wedges. Refrigerate for half hour. Remove from fridge and place on sheet pan; bake for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully you do not want to burn your scones.
Cool completely before slicing in half.
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/3 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup water
Mix all ingredients together and let marinate for 15 minutes.
2 cups cold heavy cream
3 T. powder sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Whip until firm peaks form.
Slice cooled scone, layer strawberries and drizzle juices over biscuit. Pipe or spoon on Chantilly Cream, put scone top on top of cream. Sift powder sugar on scone and drizzle extra juices around scone for a decorative element. YUMMY!
Monday, June 14, 2010
I have some of my best blog ideas in the shower.
Maybe it's because I think better without clothes on (which would actually be a shame because then I am seriously not living up to my full mental potential).
Maybe it's because this balsamic and black pepper syrup was so earth shatteringly delicious that I wanted to bathe in it. Maybe I did bathe in it.
And so maybe it's that I really have my best blog ideas when smothered in balsamic and black pepper syrup.
Does this call for a randomized controlled double blinded clinical trial? I think so!
(Any excuse to make these again.
I have more excuses if you want to borrow some. It's Monday. And cloudy. Or. It's Monday. And I have two exams this week. Or. It's Monday. Take your pick.)
You see. This month over at Have the Cake it was my turn to choose our theme.
So I hemmed. And hawed.
And after all that hemming and hawing. I was kind of sweaty. (Okay YES the majority of my hemming and hawing took place at the gym. That's the only time I have for introspection.) So I took a shower.
While showering, I realized I don't take part in as many food holidays as I would like to. And I would really like to. Because then you guys end up posting fabulous things and saying "HAPPY "insert random food here" DAY!". And I feel kind of like that kid running after the school bus. Saying, "Hey, wait for me! I wanted to celebrate peanut butter day too!"
So for once I took matters into my own hands.
Ready? Here goes.
HAPPY STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE DAY!
Didn't remember it was strawberry shortcake day? Have no fear. Over at Have the Cake it's strawberry shortcake month. So you've still got fifteen days. Or so.
Time to get baking.
Serendipitously enough. It is also MY MOTHER'S BIRTHDAY! Happy birthday Mom!
And yes, she was the welcome recipient of these babies.
Ever the enabler, I believe her direct quote upon tasting them was, "Maybe you should have been a baker."
If only, mom. If. Only.
Strawberry Shortcakes with Balsamic and Black Pepper Syrup
Serves 8, adapted from Bon Appetit
2 cups flour
5 tbsp sugar, divided
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces and chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 large egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
2 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
6 tbsp sugar, divided
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 large pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 425. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, 4 tbsp sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter until until it resembles large peas. (NOTE - Bon Appetit has you do all of this mixing and cutting business in the food processor. My roommate took our food processor with her when she left for CA and so I had to do it by hand. No biggie.) Add the cream, cutting it in until moist clumps form. Using your hands, form the dough in to a ball. On a lightly floured work surface, flatten it into an 8x4 inch rectangle. Cut it in half lengthwise, then widthwise into four equal strips making 8 biscuits in total. Transfer to the baking sheet. Chill in the freezer for 20 minutes.
2. Brush the top of the biscuits with the egg wash. Sprinkle the last tbsp sugar on top. Bake until biscuits are golden brown and a tester inserted comes out clean. Bon Appetit says this takes 15 minutes but in my oven it took around 22.
3. Mix the strawberries, 5 tbsp sugar, balsamic vinegar and black pepper in a medium bowl. Let macerate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, stirring every ten.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and 1 tbsp sugar in a chilled bowl until peaks form.
5. To assemble, cut each biscuit in half horizontally. Layer on a scoop of whipped cream and a scoop of strawberries. Cover each with top half of biscuit. Try to restrain yourself from drinking the leftover vinegar syrup. Give in and drink the leftover vinegar syrup. Or bathe in it. Your call.
I am also submitting this to Two For Tuesdays, a new blog event that celebrates REAL FOOD. Seeing as how every part of this was homemade, I think it qualifies!
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Fresh, local strawberries tossed in lemon juice and sugar waiting to fullfill their destiny.
I was pleased with the whipped cream as this is the first time I've really made it.
The finished yumminess!
Did I mention that this was delicious!! Thanks, Joanne!!
Saturday, June 5, 2010
I know. What kind of a twist can you (or should you) put on Strawberry Shortcake? I mean, we all know Strawberry Shortcake needs no improvement but since the purpose of this blog is to try new things and (hopefully) discover some delicious new recipes I had to at least build on the original.
First of all. No store-bought shortcake or dessert cups would do. I searched for a yummy made- from-scratch shortcake and settled on this one from the Cooking Light website:
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup fat-free buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons turbinado sugar or granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 400°.
To prepare shortcake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through baking soda) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine buttermilk and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist (dough will be sticky).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times with floured hands. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush top with egg white; sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.
Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Carefully split shortcake in half horizontally using a serrated knife; cool layers separately on wire racks.Place bottom half of shortcake, cut side up, on a serving plate.
This took exactly 12 minutes to turn slightly golden and cook perfectly!
I then found a recipe from Joy of Baking for an Ambrosia Shortcake so I used part of this recipe minus the bananas.
Take one 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks in syrup. Drain and reserve 3 tablespoons syrup.
3 tablespoons honey
1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Combine these three ingredients and simmer on the stove for about 5 minutes.
I then poured this mixture over the bottom of my shortcake. I placed about 2 cups of cut strawberries that had been mixed with a little sugar and chilling in my fridge for a couple hours on top.
Now for some homemade whipped cream.
I strained 4 oz. of vanilla Greek yogurt first.
Whip together 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in the vanilla yogurt.
I spread this over the fruit and placed the other half of the shortcake on top.
When ready to serve I made a little more fresh whipped cream to put on top.
This was fantastic. The shortcake was amazing. Perfectly flaky and moist. The pineapple strawberry mixture was perfect and the vanilla cream beats Cool Whip by a mile (and I do love that nasty processed stuff a whole lot)!
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Strawberry shortcake cream on top
Tell me the name of your sweetheart
Oh! Sorry! Didn't see you there.
I was just reliving my childhood. And trying to burn off some of the calories that I plan on consuming when we make these fabulous confections for this month's Have the Cake challenge!
A flaky biscuit stuffed with homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries...can you think of a better way to celebrate National Strawberry Shortcake Day (June 14th)?
The recipe that follows is from Smitten Kitchen whose blog I go to for all of my baking needs (the picture is from there as well!). However, feel free to use whatever recipe you want with whatever twist you want!
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
6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest (optional)
2/3 cup (168 grams) plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 pound strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream, beaten to soft peaks
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and zest, if using, 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 shaggy mass. Knead a couple times to make it into a cohesive mass and then pat it into a rough circle about 6 to 7 inches in diameter, and 3/4 to 1-inch thick.
Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 6 wedges and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Alternately, you can use a cookie cutter to make shapes of your choice. Chill for 20 minutes (and up to 2 hours).
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the tops of the shortcakes very lightly with heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with the coarse sugar. Bake until risen and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through to ensure even cooking.
While the shortcakes are baking, toss the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice together in a bowl. Let stand several minutes. (If the strawberries are extremely firm, do this 30 minutes in advance.)
Split the shortcakes in half horizontally and set the tops aside. Place the bottoms on dessert plates and heap strawberries over them. Spoon whipped cream generously over the strawberries and replace the shortcake tops. Serve immediately with any remaining whipped cream on the side.
Posted by - Joanne