What is she doing; making things with strawberries…in September?
Doesn’t she know we’re all, like, seasonal and local in the blogging community?
I found some strawberries. They were ripe and red and British and they smelled good so I thought I’d make you some strawberry shortcakes. I meant to write about them in the summer, at the height of the strawberry season, but here we are, autumn nipping at our heels as we crane our necks for the last rays of sunshine and dust off the final flakes of hard-earned sun burn.
Strawberry Shortcakes are something that have not really penetrated the British psyche, other than distant memories of the pink bonneted Hasbro character with her mates Huckleberry Pie and Apple Dumplin’. (I was more of a Holly Hobbie girl myself…and Smurfs, from the first time round)
To you, this may look like a soggy, fruity scone, which is not that far from the truth. But it is a delicious soggy, fruity scone. My translation of strawberry shortcake is nothing more than a very rich, very short scone, doused in macerated strawberries and their juices and topped with sweetened vanilla cream.
This is a good thing to make with end of season strawberries which are ripe and tasty but not the best looking. Appearances don’t matter here because you chop them up, add a decent amount of sugar, vanilla and hot water and give them a good stir to help the juices leach out to create a syrupy sauce. It’s this strawberry nectar that will soak into the open textured ‘shortcake’, and the reason why you need to eat it with a spoon. I didn’t put enough juice on mine. The shortcake really needs to soak in the red syrup, like a moat of Calpol.
A traditional shortcake would be made with buttermilk, but really, who has butter milk knocking about these days? Actually, I had buttermilk knocking about this day, but I had chicken thighs soaking in it to make Southern Fried Chicken (What can I say? I was having an Americana day) so I made my own concoction to sour and enrich the mix.
I ate my portion during the photographic process…as an appetiser to the fried chicken.
It’s all part of my fattening-up-for-winter diet.
You should try it.
Hull, wash and chop a large punnet of strawberries.
Add a dash of vanilla, 2 large tablespoons of caster sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of hot water.
Give this all a vigorous stir and sit at room temperature for an hour or two.
Shortcakes (makes 6)
10oz/285g Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
A pinch of salt
1.5oz/45g/3Tbsp Caster Sugar
1 egg yolk
A couple of tablespoons of plain yoghurt and/or cream
Rub the butter into the flour and baking powder and salt.
Stir in the sugar.
Get a measuring jug and add an egg yolk, a tablespoonful or two of plain or greek yoghurt and two spoonfuls of cream.
Top up to the 200ml/6.5floz mark with milk.
Stir well and then add ‘most’ of it to the flour mix.
Stir in lightly and pull it together into a loose,wet dough.
Handle the dough as little as possible.
Squash it out on a floured tables into a rectangle about 8″ x 6″ or 20cm x 15cm.
Cut into 6 squares and put them on a greased, floured tray.
Brush the tops with the leftover eggy/milk mix.
Bake at 200ºc for 12 minutes, until light gold.
Cool on a rack
A Carton of Whipping Cream
1-2 Tablespoons of Icing Sugar
Whip the cream until only very soft, add the icing sugar and vanilla to taste.
Split the warm shortcakes, top with strawberries and lots of juice and cream.
Eat with a spoon…and gay abandon.