Monday, July 7, 2014

Sweet Dreamin'

Happy Birthday America! 

What did you do over your Fourth of July holiday weekend? Me, I stayed home in Chicago visiting with family and eating quite a bit. Visiting relatives always means an excuse to try new recipes, so with Bob's mom, aunt and grandmother making their way to our house for a few days, I got to work on the menu. Saturday night dessert? Strawberry Shortcake.

No, not that Strawberry Shortcake!

In the past, I've made the semi-homemade version: frozen pound cake, store bought whipped cream and a pack of fresh or frozen strawberries (depending on the season). I did a quick google search to see what it would take to make this from scratch, and decided to go with the tasty-sounding first recipe that popped up!

This simple-ingrediented take on strawberry shortcake from the Food Network was a winner. First step, we picked up a container of organic strawberries from the local Farmer's Market. They may not have the size of their non-organic brethren, but they are large on taste. Bob helped de-stem and dice. 3 tablespoons of sugar was added to the bowl and it was left to marinate in the fridge for an hour or so to develop a nice syrup to go along with the berries.
The shortcake consisted of dry ingredients already on hand and a cup and a half of heavy cream to keep the mixture together. This was poured into an 8 inch square dish and baked for 20 minutes, until golden.

6 servings
2 cups flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 Tbs sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Sift together dry ingredients and then mix in cream until just combined. Place in ungreased 8 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden.

While the shortcake cooled, the whipped cream was whipped up. Another cup and a half of heavy cream, a bit of lemon zest, sugar and vanilla extract was mixed together. I went to town on the electric hand mixer for a few minutes until the cream solidified and those elusive peaks started to form. 

Whipped Cream
6 servings
3 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 tsp lemon zest

Beat ingredients with hand mixer until peaks form.

A slice of shortcake layered with strawberries and whipped cream, with another spoonful of syrup-drenched berries on top for good measure. Now that is a summer dessert.

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