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Strawberry shortcake, an American favorite

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Without question, strawberry shortcake is a most memorable summertime treat. This traditional American confection can be declared a major a part of spring and summer, just as much as a pitcher of lemonade or a dish of homemade ice cream. Though the dessert has numerous variations, the basis of it is much the same: a rich, sweet biscuit-type cake topped with sweetened berries and whipped cream. Some recipes use sponge cake and some use pound cake, using the same principle with the berries and cream.

Driscoll's, the company that markets many fresh fruits, has developed a great recipe for a strawberry shortcake to commemorate this day. This recipe is fresh, homemade and completely from scratch! Try this and you'll discover that it's worth the extra bit of time and effort required to prepare it.

This is the traditional biscuit shortcake and it's further enhanced with just a hint of cinnamon in the shortcake and orange rind for garnishing. It's a beautiful dessert and one you'll want to make again over the course of the summer. Made from scratch, it's well worth your time!

Sometime ago, I ran a recipe for a shortcutted version of strawberry shortcake. Here's the link if you missed it the first time:

http://www.examiner.com/article/strawberries-and-a-shortcut-on-shortcake

Give this sensational recipe a try this weekend...you may discover that those who taste this dessert will long remember it!

DRISCOLL'S STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

Shortcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To prepare shortcakes:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and stir into flour mixture until just moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 4 to 5 times with floured hands. Gently pat dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut out 8 shortcakes, gathering scraps and patting out again if necessary, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops of shortcakes with remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.

Bake shortcakes until lightly golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully split shortcakes horizontally using a serrated knife.

Strawberry Filling:

  • 2 packages (16 ounces or 3 cups each) Driscoll's Strawberries
  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest

Garnish:

  • Fresh orange zest strips for garnish (optional)

To prepare strawberry filling: hull and chop 15 strawberries and toss in a bowl with 2 teaspoons sugar; set aside. Combine heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and orange zest in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on high until stiff peaks almost form. Refrigerate until ready to use. Hull and halve 20 berries lengthwise. Hull and vertically slice 8 strawberries. Use any remaining strawberries for garnish or reserve for another use.

Place the bottom halves of shortcakes, cut side up, on eight serving plates and spread each with 2 tablespoons whipped cream. Arrange 5 strawberry halves, on their sides (with the cut side facing in towards the center) around the edge of each shortcake to form a ring. Spoon chopped strawberries into the center of the ring. Top with 2 tablespoons whipped cream and place shortcake tops, cut side down, on top. Spread tops with 1 tablespoon whipped cream, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Decoratively arrange 4 to 5 strawberry slices on top and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Drop a small dollop of whipped cream in the center of sliced berries and garnish with the orange zest strips, if using them. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve. Yield: 8 servings.

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