January 6, 2009

Strawberry Shortcakes : Starting 2009 On A Sweet Note!

hat’s new in the New Year? Not too much really. Life is much as usual (and that’s comforting) except I now have to remember that I need to write/ type out 2009 instead of 2008!
I’ll start the New Year here on a sweet note with Strawberry Shortcake. We had this for dessert on New Year’s eve.

It’s winter here too, and the weather in India ranges from freezing through very cold to pleasant depending on which part of the country one lives in. I’m lucky to be where it is pleasant and this is the time for those fruits and vegetables that are available only in the winter months. And it is time for strawberries too.

In the excitement of seeing them at the market after such a long time, I came back with too many strawberries. We ate some and I made strawberry shortcake with the rest. Strawberry shortcake is a popular summer layered dessert in the United States, made with buttermilk biscuits/ scones filled with strawberries and whipped cream. The juice in the strawberry mixture keeps the biscuits/ scones moist. There are some versions made with sponge cake instead of scones.

Since these biscuits/ scones taste best fresh, they need to be made the same day you serve them. This is not difficult as they’re easy to make and don't take too long either.
I used the recipe at Joy of Baking for reference to make these as I had never seen or eaten Strawberry Shortcakes before. That recipe uses cream stead of buttermilk. Cream is supposed to result in flakier biscuits/ scones.

Strawberry Shortcake

For the buttermilk biscuits/ scones:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar )

2 tsp baking powder

75 gm butter, chilled

1 egg (I used 1 tbsp powdered flax seed + 3 tbsp warm water)

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the strawberry filling:

2 small cartons of strawberries (about 2 to 3 cups when chopped)

½ cup sugar (adjust to sweetness of fruit)

¼ cup orange juice

For the cream:

200 ml chilled (for at least 24 hours) cream (I used 25% fat)

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp sugar


For the Shortcake:

This can be done by hand or in the processor. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into the processor and pulse a couple of times. Otherwise put in a bowl and whisk together.

Add the cold butter and process only till the butter and flour mixture takes on a appearance of largish crumbs. Otherwise, do this using your fingers to ensure the butter doesn’t melt.

Empty the flour-butter mixture from the processor into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, vanilla, egg (or flax seed mixture). If substituting the egg with the flax seed mixture, whisk the flax seed powder and warm water and keep aside till slightly thick in consistency).

Add to the flour butter mixture and mix till it all just comes together as a dough. Do not knead the dough very much as it will result in tough biscuits. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into a circle about 1” thick. Cut into 3” circles.
For a more rustic looking shortcake, lightly shape the dough (floured hands) into 8 circles, like I did.

Place the biscuits/ scones close together, leaving very little space in between, on a greased tray and bake at 210 C for about 20 minutes till lightly brown. Let them cool slightly on a rack.

The filling:

Chop the strawberries. Put about one third of the chopped strawberries in a blender to just break them down. Do not puree.

Now put all of the strawberries, sugar, orange juice and vanilla in a bowl. Mix and refrigerate for about an hour. I stay in the fridge for too long the strawberries will become mushy.

The cream:

Whip the cream, vanilla extract and sugar using an electric hand mixer till stiff. Refrigerate till needed. It will stay in the fridge for a few hours.

Assembling the shortcake:

The biscuits/ scones can be made a few hours ahead and warmed slightly before assembling.

Cut each warm biscuit/ scone into half. Place the bottom half on a plate and place some strawberry mixture, along with some syrup, on it. Top whipped cream and place the other biscuit/ scone half over it. Top this with whipped cream and top with some more of the strawberry mixture.
Serve immediately. This recipe serves 8.



Curry Leaf said...

Lovely Aparna.I too love it.Perfect start to the year

Cham said...

Looks gorgeous!

TBC said...

Here's to new beginnings! A very happy 2009 to you too, Aparna.
I love strawberries... can't recall eating them in India very often though... they were so expensive!
Your shortcake looks fab.

Uj said...

Looks yummy. I am on same spree.. We get very nice strawberries here. Every time I see them I fall for them and buy a huge batch and till now I have been only eating them or making milkshakes at the most. Got to start looking for recipes that use them. Your's looks awesome:) Delicious way to start the year with :)

Soma said...

I envy the weather out there Aparna:-) I bet U are enjoying the blue skies & sea...

Looks beautiful.. the cake. This used to be my fav. in a Friendly's here.

Vij said...

Looks so yummy n lovely!

Sunshinemom said...

Aparna, that looks quite a mouthful:), and a delicious one! I had my fill of yummy strawberries and raspberries in Mahabaleshwar - the ones we get here seem to be artificially ripened! It is difficult to judge esp. when we don't get to eat such desserts - I felt the handicap when I made this and the scones too!

Rachel said...

A very sweet way to ring in the New Year....

Rajani said...

aparna quite a mouthfull there. looks so good that I think I'may want to buy a house in your neighbourhood. :P

Vera said...

These look lovely, Aparna! Happy New Year to you and your family!

jayasree said...

Lovely start in the new year. Looks mouthwatering.

Aparna said...

Happy 2009, again!

Strawberries are grown here and more common now thanks to better transportation facilities, a demand for them and big chain supermarkets all over the place.
They are still a bit expensive, TBC.

Same here, Harini.
I did find this a bit heavy even though it tasted good, probably because we're really not used to heavy desserts.

You're welcome, Rajani though property prices are pretty steep here these days! :D

MeetaK said...

strawberries oh how I love thee. we still need to wait till strawberries are in season here (although i have seen a few from far away lands in the stores. a lovely dessert!

Sig said...

Weather sounds lovely! I am so jealous... it is unbearably cold here :(
Oh, and that is one good lookin dessert!

farida said...

Aparna, happy New Year to you and your family! This is indeed a sweet beginning of the year:) Looks great!

Alka said...

Anything with a strawberry looks marvelous and same holds true for this :-)
Lovely way to begin the year and yeah even i forgot to watermark my pics with 2009 and it took me some time to realize that 2008 had finally gone :-)

Priya said...

Prefect beginning for this year..looks gorgeous n delicious...

Happy cook said...

It looks yummy.
I have never made these at home.
Here too the waehter is freezing cold. Last night it was -10°c.
Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy 2009.

arundati said...

lovely start to the year!! have a fabulous one aparna!! the shortcake looks fabulous!!

Usha said...

Looks fantastic, Aparna...definitely a great start to the year :-)

Snooky doodle said...

How Nice! These look so tempting :)

Smitha said...

Now, that is a what a sweet beginning for a new year is...

Nithya Praveen said...

Strawberries are my fav...will surely try this.Looks awesome!

sra said...

You redesigned the blog! How did you do it? I take ages to understand the instructions.

For many years, I used to think a shortcake was a spongy cake, it was such a revelation when I found out it was more of a biscuit!

sra said...

Oh, ok, I saw that Link site, am exploring it

FoodyGuru (Srimathi) said...

Wonderful way to start the new year. Happy New year to you.

Vibaas said...

Looks so yummy Aparna. Why don't you send it for click event?

Ivy said...

Welcome back Aparna and Happy New Year to you an yours. I am jealous. You get strawberries in January? The cake looks delicious.

Bharti said...

Absolutely yummy.

karuna said...

happy new year aparna. shortcake looks yummo. that is a sweet start to new years.

vivari said...

cake looks nice

winnie said...

Do you prepare everyday these receipes and then post...bcoz eveyday i see some knew receipe...if so Ur family members are really lucky ...

Aparna said...

Meeta and Ivy,
For us strawberry season is now, in the cooler months. We don't get it in summer. Our summers are usually very hot!

Sig and HC,
The weather is pretty good now, but when you're comfortable in summer I'll be complaining about the heat!! :D

I'm not very code savvy. It takes me ages to understand these things (I don't think I'll ever figure out most of it) but I've become adept at "cut & paste"!! :D

Thanks for the suggestion, Vibhaa but I don't think the picture is very good. :(
I do plan on sending something if I can, though.

No Winnie, I don't prepare all these things daily or all the time.
Our daily food is quite simple, mostly traditional Indian fare which is much healthier. :)
If we ate like this all the time, we would be having health problems! :)

Simran said...

Lovely start to the year.

I am eating way too many strawberries too before they go away.

Eva said...

What a colourful way to start the new year! Want one, too..;-)