Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Long days, strawberry shortcake nights

During the strawberry’s brief yet vibrant season, I try to eat them every day. I eat them with balsamic vinegar. I eat them in pies. I eat them in salads. I eat them with granola. I eat them with yogurt. I eat them with cream. And, of course, I eat them by themselves. But my favorite way to eat strawberries is in that classic concoction: strawberry shortcake.

Strawberry shortcake is a simple dish—a sliced biscuit, lightly sweetened strawberries and fluffy, whipped cream are its only requirements. I grew up eating this as my mom loves to make strawberry shortcake and hers is the best. And I’m not alone in my opinion, as I’ve seen others sigh when their shortcake bowls have been spooned clean.

The sad thing, however, is that when I was a kid I didn’t realize I was eating proper strawberry shortcake. Randall’s Supermarket sold round yellow sponge-cake cups and called them shortcakes. (They were only a about an inch high, so they were, indeed, short). And because I was gullible, I was mislead into believing that they were the real deal and what my mom was serving me was incorrect. Not that it mattered, because I still preferred her shortcake. The packaged sponge-cake kind never satisfied as the juice and cream turned the cakes into a soggy mush; you need the heft of a biscuit to carry the weight.


As longtime readers are well aware, I love to make biscuits. But my mom has always been more of a scone maker than a biscuit maker and so I was curious what recipe she used for her shortcakes. She surprised me when she said that it had probably come from The Complete American-Jewish Cookbook by Anne London and Bertha Kahn Bishov. It turns out that this is one of her most cherished cookbooks, the source of many of her favorite recipes. Who knew that an Episcopal priest could be such a fan of kosher cooking?

Now if you're an avid plant person like myself (my thumb's not completely green yet, but I keep trying!), you probably have mint and basil overtaking your windowsills, fire escapes or gardens. Fortunately, they both complement the sweetness of the berries, so I’ve enjoyed adding them to my whipped cream; ginger also gives a spicy kick. I’ve also been known to use sweetened Greek-style yogurt instead of whipped cream with my shortcake. Its thick texture and tart flavor make it a terrific vehicle for the berries’ juice.

So yes, this is a simple recipe and a simple dish without much of a story. But it never fails to please me and since it’s my birthday, I thought I’d share some of it with you.

How do you like to eat your strawberries?

Strawberry shortcake
2 pints of strawberries, rinsed, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons of honey
8 biscuits

Method:
1. Toss the strawberries with the sugar in a bowl, and leave out at room temperature for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour the cream into a chilled bowl, and whip with either a whisk, eggbeater or mixer until thickened (be careful to not whip it too much or you’ll turn it into butter!). Gently stir in the honey and vanilla. Cover and chill until ready to use (though if it sits too long it will revert back to its liquid state and will need to be whipped again).
3. Cut each biscuit in half, and on the bottom half place some strawberries and whipped cream. Put the top half on and add some more berries and cream.

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47 comments:

Kara said...

Happy Birthday!! Thanks for sharing!

Frank said...

And a very Happy Birthday to you, Lisa! I love me some strawberry shortcake!
FM

Aaress said...

Happy Birthday! The recipe sounds delicious and the images are incredibly yummy looking.

God bless!

Debra said...

Substitute orange flower water for the vanilla...yum.

...and Happy Birthday. :)

Lisa said...

Oh, this is the perfect way to eat strawberries: with biscuits and cream. Then, as other luscious summer fruits come into season, it is the perfect way to eat them too!

Happy Birthday!

Natalie said...

I will admit, I grew up eating those sad little cakey things and never knew the bliss that is true strawberry shortcake.

I will also admit that I love the strawberries and cream over cubes of angel food cake. Homemade is, of course, best, but if I MUST buy store-bought, I buy it from the Kroger bakery. I don't know if theirs is really all that great or if its one of those super-embarassing-Velveeta-type-indulgences that I crave.

Either way, it's all just a vehicle for strawberry delivery, right?

Happy Birthday!

Jodie said...

Happy Birthday! I love this recipe... my mom didn't bake much, so I grew up with those packaged yellow sponge cakes. Not my favorite, so I usually eat my strawberries without shortcake. I'll have to send you my husband's recipe for a sugar-free strawberry cream pie. It was wonderful and we managed to make it last for 3 days!

Tace said...

Oh Yum, yum yummmmmers. That's how strawberry shortcake should be. I too remember those scarily yellow spongy things that OTHER people used for their shortcakes. It couldn't hold a candle to my grandma's hearty biscuits. I have a lovely memory of a giant bowl of mashed strawberries with sugar, a pile of biscuits and whipped cream at her house.
Great, and droolworthy post!

ann said...

OoooohhhH! Happy Happy Birthday Lisa! It's funny, I was actually contemplating making strawberry shortcake this weekend with your biscuit recipe! I was thinking of making buttermilk whipped cream (I'm not even sure if that's possible, but it just sounded really good to me). I hope your year is filled with sweetness and light and happiness!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Happy Birthday!

That Strawberry Shortcake looks de-li-cious! I'm drooling...

Cheers,

Rosa

AT said...

Oh, happy birthday Lisa! I hope it's a good one. I'm that way with cherries during the summer - the way you are with strawberries. I munch munch on them as I anxiously await the day that they'll be gone again, til next summer. Hrm.. I wonder how cherry shortcake would taste.

talida said...

Happy Birthday! I grew up eating my strawberries with a mix of granulated sugar, salt, and a bit of Thai crushed pepper. IMO, the mix also goes great with other fruits like grapefruit and guava.

eonyc said...

Happy Birthday, indeed! NOTHING tops homemade strawberry shortcake. My mom also makes a mouth-watering version that no funky yellow Randalls cake can ever match. : )

Kalyn said...

Happy Birthday. This is such a fun coincidence because I have a beautiful blonde niece named Nicole and it's her birthday today too!

spicyskillet said...

YUM! I grew up loving strawberry shortcake and still do! I also love to eat strawberries with just a little bit of cream or half and half on top. Thanks for bringing back some great memories and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Jen said...

Happy birthday! And how fitting that your birthday post is about my yearly birthday cake-- strawberry shortcake! Although I admit that we didn't use biscuits during my California childhood, but rather a slightly different combination of angel food and pound cake every year, with chocolate whip cream some years and the plain vanilla stuff the others. I think I need to go eat some of the strawberries I've been obsessively buying and sticking in the fridge... my third round of them today ;-)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Happy birthday, Lisa! What a wonderful way to celebrate, with strawberries and the memory of strawberry shortcake. I've gotten so addicted to eating them with balsamic and just a tiny bit of sugar.

Plum Texan said...

Happy birthday - I'm a June baby too! Aaaand now I'm craving my own strawberries and cream pie.

kathrynbircher said...

Happy Birthday!
My favorite way to eat strawberries is at the Stagecoach Inn in Salado, TX. They have a dessert called the strawberry kiss, no one else in my family is impressed with it, but for some reason (probably nostalgia) I LOVE it! It's a cooked merangue (sp?) with strawberries and Blue Bell Vanilla Ice cream, YUM!

glassgirl said...

I love strawberries. I just can't get enough of them, but now that I've been strawberry picking with my kids 2 years in a row, I can't stand the under-ripened ones from the stores.
My birthday is in late april, and my mom always made the best cake for me-- something like a poundcake/angelfood cross between, with a layer of strawberries in jello topping that looks gorgeous, and whipped cream in between. All our friends are jealous and always ask for the recipe.

Happy Birthday!

Amy said...

Oh wow - this looks amazing!!! You know, I've never actually had homemade strawberry shortcake like this! *Hangs head in shame* But I'm certainly going to give this a go! YUM!! Also, happy birthday! Mine's in June as well!!

deceiverofmen said...

happy birthday!

Julie said...

Oh, that's such a lucious looking picture!

I come from a shortcake made with biscuits family and I think baking powder biscuits are superior to sponge cakes or other types of cake (which really shouldn't be referred to as shortcakes)because baking powder biscuits have a savory quality that contrasts so well with the strawberries and whipped cream. However I suspect that for most people the type of strawberry shortcake they grew up with is the kind they regard as the best.

Happy birthday, Lisa, I hope it's a great year!

Berry Blissful said...

Well, Happy Birthday, Lisa! Thanks so much for the great post and lovely scrumptious pictures. Here in England, the closest Pick Your Own Farm opens on Friday and guess who'll be first in line through the gate. I made my first ever strawberry jam last summer and will be doing so, again, along with some shortcake!

nataleerae said...

OMG! I LOVED the strawberry kiss at the Stagecoach Inn growing up too. I will have to try this recipe this week.

Janna said...

Yum Yum Yum Yum
The strawberries in my part of Texas have been sporting their bling all over the grocery stores here are they are super sweet. You know they're good when they are a deep red and when you slice them the red has permeated all the way through to the core of the berry!
I LOVE STRAWBERRY SEASON!

This strawberry shortcake looks great! Did you use your world famous biscuit recipe?

kate said...

I have to admit that I didn't know that shortcake should be biscuit-y rather than sponge-y until I was in high school. I adored those soggy, syrupy messy sponge-cake cups, but more than anything, I loved the whipped cream. Mmmmm.

We've been getting amazing strawberries over the last few weeks here (I'm a fellow Tex-patriate imprisoned in NC! Oh, NO!), so perhaps I will have to try some biscuit-style strawberry shortcakes. Thanks for the inspiration!

Meg said...

Happy birthday! I'm with you; strawberry shortcake is one of the best possible uses for good strawberries (and makes me envy people with June birthdays). And it should be a fresh-baked biscuit, not cake. Strawberry gelato is huge in my house when strawberries are at their best, red all the way through. I like sliced strawberries on top of a still-warm lemon curd tart. And just with yogurt in the morning. And cooked to make a strawberry syrup to flavor lemonade. Or cooked to make a little compote and served over ice cream. And... well, you might guess I'm a berry fan.

Acme Instant Food said...

This is interesting. I've never been a huge fan of strawberry shortcake for some odd reason. I like all the ingredients (who doesn't?) but the sum of them together puts me off. I think I've realized it's because I've only had it using the spongy/cakey base which inevitably turns into a damp, grainy mess! I think the biscuit is the answer. I love Southerners! Is there anything you are not good for?

Homesick Texan said...

Kara--Thanks and you're welcome!

Frank--Thanks! Isn't it the best?

Aaress--Muchas gracias!

Debra--Oh yum, I'll have to try that

Lisa--I'm thinking there may be blueberry shortcake in my future.

Natalie--I think angel-food cake has a bit more heft than those sponge cakes. And who cares if you're favorite store-bought one comes from Kroger!

Jodie--Yes! I can't wait to see that recipe!

Tace--The bigger the bowl, the better!

Ann--Ah yes, great minds think alike! And I don't know about buttermilk whipped cream, but I have made buttermilk ice cream, and it's outstanding with fresh, summer fruit.

Rosa--Thank you!

AT--I think it would taste fantastic, especially if you threw some slivered almonds into your biscuit recipe.

Talida--I love chile peppers with mangos--I can't wait to try some with my strawberries!

Eonyc--Nope, Randalls failed in the shortcake department.

Kalyn--That is a fun coincidence! Happy birthday to your niece!

Spicyskillet--Yes! One of my favorite breakfasts is a bowl of strawberries with half and half. That's healthy, right?

Jen--Chocolate whipped cream? Now that's decadent!

Lydia--I love them with balsamic reduction,too. What kind of sugar do you use? Plain or brown?

Plum Texan--Happy birthday, my fellow June Baby!

Kathryn Bircher--I don't know about your family, but I think the strawberry kiss sounds heavenly!

GlassGirl--Wow! Now that's a birthday cake!

Amy--It's never too late to start. And happy, happy birthday!

DeceiverofMen--Muchas gracias!

Julie--Yes! You definitely need that bit of salt to balance out the sweetness.

Berry Blissful--I haven't made jam yet, but that's next on my list!

Nataleerae--OK, that does it--next time I'm in Texas I have to go to the Stagecoach Inn.

Janna--The ones I get from this one farmer are so red all the way through they look like jewels. And yep, I used my biscuit recipe!

Kate--You're welcome--it's pretty different from the sponge cakes, but very delicious--hope you enjoy it!

Meg--You are quite the connoisseur! And now I need a lemon-curd tart!

Acme Instant Food--Try it with a biscuit. If you're still not convinced--I'll make you some Tex-Mex instead!

nicole said...

Happy birthday! We used to eat those supermarket ones, too ... the real thing is much better :) Hope you had a lovely day.

tripletmom said...

Sounds delicious! Can't wait to try your biscuit recipe. My mother-in-law (Alabama) introduced me to proper strawberry short cake. She makes a wonderful thick shortbread "cookie". It has a great consistency that is sturdy enough to hold up to the juicy berries, yet is also tender and crumbly. Very good!

Happy birthday. I am also a June bug.

Amy

allison said...

Happy birthday!

My mom forbid us to eat those spongy things. We were only allowed to have strawberry shortcake the proper way. She used to make it for me a lot when I was little. Now that I think about it, my late night dessert nights pretty much ended when my sister was born. Yet another reason for sibling rivalry!

Ken said...

Looks great - have you ever tried it with peaches?

Alexis said...

I think it's about time for a dewberry entry.

Pille said...

Happy birthday!! Too bad you weren
't at the foodbloggers' potluck last night. But I'm in town until Monday afternoon, so if you fancy a cuppa in NY, let me know!

Jim said...

Looks wonderful! So creamy and delish.

Sharona May

Bee said...

I'm so sad that I tuned in too late to wish you a happy birthday! So Happy Birthweek. Underlined and Exclamation Pointed.

On the other hand, this post has auspicious timing for me as we just discovered our first ripe strawberry today. We've never planted strawberries before, and it seemed so miraculous to find this beautiful sweet berry!

Also, I bought some big strawberries today to dip into dark chocolate . . . and that's my favorite way to eat a strawberry.

P.S. I'm going to Wimbledon this year for the very first time -- a lifelong dream -- and I can't wait to try their famous strawberries and cream!

Lore said...

Happy belated b-day Lisa!
Love that you used honey for these! YUM!

Spring Chick said...

Mmm. I make these with the Shirley Corriher "Touch of Grace" biscuits, but with a little extra sugar. (Ultra light, not sturdy biscuits. But it works. And certainly better than cake.)

bakingblonde said...

Those look so perfect, I am going to buy strawberries this week just so I can make some yummy recipes! You have inspired me!

wheresmymind said...

mmm...it's almost about time for pick your own strawberries around here :)

Sarah said...

homesick texan (via Lindsay) meet smartcookie:

http://smartcookienyc.blogspot.com/

Tea said...

I'm a little late but happy birthday! I hope you had a fabulous day.

Sophia Kitchen Caravan said...

This entry made my mouth water! Strawberry shortcake is one of those matches made in heaven. . . My boyfriend is visiting from Italy, and I always like to introduce him to classic American desserts. I will be making this for him later this week!

Homesick Texan said...

Nicole--Aren't they? And thanks!

Tripletmom--Happy birthday to you!

Allison--Your mom was a wise woman.

Ken--No, I haven't but that sounds fabulous and I'll definitely have to try it once peaches come into season.

Alexis--How about that--happy birthday! And I agree, though I don't think you can get wild dewberries here in NYC, just blackberries.

Pille--I know! I'm so sorry I missed you--I had to work really late. Hope you enjoyed your stay!

Jim--Thanks!

Bee--I'll take a week over a day anytime! And have a blast at Wimbeldon--I've always wanted to attend as well. I enjoy going to the US Open, but it doesn't have the charm of grass courts and strawberries and cream.

Lore--Yep, it's good to eat local honey to support the bees and all!

Spring Chick--I'm not familiar with those biscuits, but I love the name!

Bakingblonde--Enjoy!

Wheresmymind--How fun--that's one thing I've never done but it's about how time I try it.

Sarah--Thanks for the introduction.

Tea--Many thanks--and as far as I'm concerned, it's still my birthday week!

Lisa said...

I only want to eat them like this, now! Happy birthday to you.

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