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Let 'Em Eat Cake...All-American Strawberry Shortcake

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There is probably not a truer American dessert than good ol' Strawberry Shortcake. The problem is, not many people actually know how to make this dessert properly. First of all, most of the shortcake I have eaten in my lifetime has been nothing short of culinary crap and yes, I am even referring to some of the most expensive restaurants on both coasts. Proper shortcake needs the density to support both the whipped cream and the strawberries and sad to say, some of the so-called top Chef's in America are absolutely clueless in this respect. The only shortcake to be used with both cream and berries is buttermilk shortcake.

So here we go, just in time for those tasty, juicy early crop strawberries, I will show you how to make a proper Strawberry Shortcake. The only recipe you'll need is for the buttermilk shortcake. It is very simple. As a matter-of-fact, from beginning to end the time to make a perfect Strawberry Shortcake is only about 30 minutes (and this includes the baking time for the shortcake).

Ingredients for All-American Strawberry Shortcake (makes about 6 shortcakes depending on size)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Into a medium bowl combine the flour, butter, sugar and baking soda. Using a pastry blender (also known as a pastry fork) cut the butter into the flour until it resembled coarse crumbs. (Yes, you can use a mixer for this but the texture of the shortbread will be more dense than light.)
  3. Into the bowl stir in the buttermilk until it forms a dough.
  4. Remove the dough to a floured surface and gently knead it for about 1 minute (it will be sticky, so don't worry).
  5. Pat the dough (DO NOT ROLL IT) into a disc and using a round cookie-cutter or glass, cut out circles (size depends on you). Continue this step until the dough is used up and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Place in oven and bake 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Now all you need are some strawberries (cut into quarters) and some freshly whipped cream.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook" is now available worldwide and features 80 dishes from the era of the most acclaimed television show in the history of PBS, Downton Abbey.

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