Monday, 2 July 2012

Two Strawberry Shortcakes

Two Strawberry Shortcakes (one fast one not so fast)

As promised, I have pictures of the Canada Day fireworks from last night (the holiday lasted over yesterday and today) and the good red and white Canadian dessert, strawberry shortcake, although with some tweaks here and there.
True, this hardly qualifies as an Indian dessert, but Canada Day is Canada Day and one must be traditional.  You could always add a few slivers of candied ginger, or better yet a few flakes of silver foil.  That would be pretty!
I have two recipes here.  The one that I actually made last night, after yet another day spent crawling around on hands and knees, plucking weeds and thinning out invading but cheerful plants, and the one that I would have preferred to make, if I'd had the strength and time. 

Here goes:
The Actual One from Last Night

3 cups fresh strawberries, stemmed and cored, then sliced
2 tablespoons lavender sugar
1 storebought angel food cake

Only one blossom visible...
1 small carton vanilla/caramel toffee icecream
Macerate the strawberries by putting them in a large bowl, sprinkle on the lavender sugar being sure to get some lavender blossoms in there for the beauty of it, and gently stir.  Cover and set aside for at least an hour.

Cut the cake.  Serve with icecream on top, and pour strawberries and their sweet juice over the cake.  Ta Da!  Superfast and easy.  Great when you’re starting to get arthritis in your hands from all day weeding and thinning  three days in a row.

The Preferred Version
This one isn't a terribly sweet dessert. It's based on an old recipe from my 1971 Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  In fact, the first time I made the shortcake, I didn’t use strawberries, but fresh peaches.  Oh, that was delicious too.  But back to the strawberry version:

Lavender sugar macerated strawberries, as above
I've scrubbed the book cover, but the pages are old and filthy...
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ cup frozen butter
1 tablespoon good quality vanilla

1 cup milk
optional sugar crystals

1 cup ice cold whipping cream (33% butterfat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
(or omit vanilla and use 1 tablespoon of a fruity liqueur and extra sugar if desired)
baking sheet greased with butter

Mix the flours, salt and baking powder with a slotted spoon or large fork.  Use a cheese grater to shred the frozen butter, then stir that into the flour.  The mixture should look crumbly.  Make a well and pour in the vanilla and milk and stir gently.  You don’t need to make a smooth batter.  A little lumpy is good. 

Drop from a spoon onto the baking sheet.  (If you like lots of sweetness, sprinkle sugar crystals over each biscuit).  This will make about a dozen biscuits.  Bake at 450F for 12 to 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for a minute on the sheet, then slide off onto a cooling rack.  When they’re no longer hot, slice horizontally.

While waiting for the biscuits to cool, pour cream into a cold bowl.  Whip till it starts to thicken.  Add vanilla and sugar (or liquer) and continue whipping carefully.  Stop as soon as it’s thick enough.  If you whip too long, you’ll have butter and whey.  Not funny when you’re anticipating whipped cream… So err on the side of caution, especially if the room temperature is very warm.
Place a few strawberries on the plate, place the bottom half of the biscuit on the strawberries.  Heap whipped cream over biscuit, then more strawberries, then the top half -- slightly crooked on top, then a bit more cream and strawberries.  Oh, delight.  This doesn’t take a lot of time, in fact it’s quite easy!  But since I was so stiff and sore, and we had to race off to see the Canada Day fireworks, I went with the fastest version.  But you don't have to.

The new Peace Bridge on the way to the fireworks...
Happy Birthday, Canada!


  1. Thanks Meg. Your methi dish looks amazing too. Now I know what I'll do with that methi I have growing in my garden!