Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Strawberry Shortcakes

In a sudden flash of inspiration brought two packets of fresh strawberries. Baked a chocolate strawberry cake (threw strawberries in the chocolate cake batter, was quite good actually), made some strawberry jam (recipe shall follow shortly) and was still left with some. So I tried a hand at making shotcakes.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter, chilled
2/3 to 3/4 cup half and half, milk, or cream
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and cubes pof chilled butter. Mix using your fingertips. Mix on until the mixture resembles coarse meal, but with few pea-size chunks of butter left in the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. With a fork stir in the cream or milk, just until dough is moist. Be very careful not to overwork. The dough doesn't have to hold together well at this point. Let the dough stand for a minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times, until it is holding together and is less sticky.
Gently pat the dough into a rectangle about 3/4-inch thick and cut into biscuits with a floured round cutter. Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Brush on a little milk or cream and arrange some strawberries in the center. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees, until risen and golden brown.
Let cool before sprinkling some icing sugar on top. Serve with whipped cream.
The texture of a shortcake was a cross between a cake and cookie. I felt , as I do with puff pastries as well, that too much effort goes into making them compared to the speed with which they vanish from the plate and you are left wondering whether toiling for an hour was worth it!

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