When I was growing up, my favorite treat on a warm summer night was a slice of freshly baked shortcake with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a generous topping of strawberries.
The shortcake recipe was passed down through many generations of my family and truly has a perfect kiss of sweetness.
While summer strawberries are the best, often not requiring any extra sugar at all, I couldn't resist buying a pint this past Sunday. A rainy, chilly spring day just seemed to beckon for a hint of the summertime.
Mike, however, was not convinced. In fact, he wrinkled up his nose in disgust when he learned the destiny of the strawberries.
I found this offensive. I informed him of this. And then I set about to end his four-year standoff against strawberry shortcake.
Enough was enough.
A few hours before dessert, I washed, hulled and sliced the strawberries.
Since these strawberries are not quite (nowhere near) their peak season, we need to add a little sugar. Then we will allow the sugar and strawberries to mascerate, meaning the sugar will soften the skin of the strawberry, releasing the juices of the fruit.
I sprinkle the sugar over the top of the sliced strawberries, stir to combine and leave them in the refrigerator until its time to serve dessert.
When you are ready to prepare the shortcake, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
Measure out the shortening. Using a fork, cut the shortening into the dry mixture until uniform, pea-sized pieces of shortening are created.
Add the milk and beaten egg to the flour mixture. Use a spatula to combine the mixtures.
Pour the batter into a 9" cake pan, prepared with nonstick spray.
The batter is quite thick - a small off-set spatula will help you move the batter evenly across the pan
Brush a layer of melted butter across the top of the batter. Sprinkle a generous coating of turbinado sugar over the top.
Pop this in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes. Just enough time to finish up the dinner dishes and prepare the sweetened whipped cream.
For the whipped cream, pour heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Beat until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
As is tradition in my family, I served the dessert family-style. I love watching other people assembling their shortcakes: each has their own method, complete with the perfect amount of whipped cream and strawberries.
What about Mike's standoff against strawberry shortcake? His white napkin served as a wonderful surrender flag.
from Family Recipes
makes 8 servings
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Turbindado sugar, for topping
Sweetened Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Strawberries
Sprinkle sugar over sliced strawberries. Stir to combine.
Refrigerate at least two hours.
For the Shortcake
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Measure flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl. Whisk to combine
Cut in shortening until pea-sized pieces are created.
Mix in milk and beaten egg. Stir until evenly combined.
Pour batter into 9" pan, prepared with nonstick spray. Spread into even layer.
Brush melted butter on top of batter. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.
Bake until dark golden color, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
For the Sweetened Whipped Cream
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla. Whip to stiff peak.