It's finally strawberry season here in Minnesota, so we took The Knuckleheads (also known as my children) out to Bauer Berry Farm to do some pickin'. I have to say, they are a well run operation, and they make it easy to get in and out (well, checking out can be a wait). Anyway, highly recommend. We'll probably go back for some blueberry picking when those are ripe in July.
So what to do with 2 flats of strawberries? Tonight it was shortcake. Tomorrow... maybe a fruit tart. And I see some jam in our future. It's a lot of friggin' strawberries. This strawberry huller is a big help if you have a lot of berries to process. I know I said in a previous post that I'm not a gadget-phile, but I may have to reconsider that statement. I guess I do like tools that help make cooking and baking more fun and less tedious.
Strawberry shortcake (from the New York Times)
Makes about 10 shortcakes
- 2 pints (about 24 oz) ripe, well-rinsed strawberries
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cups (6 oz) butter, plus 1 Tbsp melted butter
- 3 cups whipping cream
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
What to do
1. Mascerate the berries.
Pick over and hull strawberries. Cut in half or slice, depending on size. Gently crush about a quarter of the berries with a fork to release their juices. Mix with remaining berries and the 1/2 cup of sugar, adding more sugar if necessary. Set aside, covered, for about half an hour to develop flavor.
2. Make the shortcakes.
Preheat oven to 450°F degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, salt and baking powder. Add 3/4 cup of softened butter, and rub into dry ingredients as for pastry (I use a pastry cutter). Add 1 1/4 cups cream, and mix to a soft dough. Knead the dough for one minute on a lightly floured pastry board or counter, then roll it out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut an even number of rounds - 2 rounds per serving.
3. Bake the shortcakes.
Use a little of the butter to grease a baking sheet (or use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat). Place half the rounds on it. Melt remaining butter and brush a little on the rounds; place remaining rounds on top. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
4. Make the whipped cream and assemble.
Remove from the oven, and pull shortcakes apart. Brush the insides with some of the remaining melted butter. Beat remaining cream until it thickens. Add vanilla, then beat again just until thick.
Place a bottom half of a shortcake on each plate. Top with a generous spoonful of berries. Cover with a top half, add a few more berries, and top with whipped cream.