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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Pim's strawberry shortcake

strawberryshortcakeI haven't posted anything I made myself in so long I wonder if anyone still thinks I could cook!  Anyway, I made strawberry shortcake the other day for Chiraz's lovely party.  The recipe hasn't been posted yet, so here it is.

This is actually my scone recipe, which, like my Madeleine recipe, is result of lots of trials and errors.  I started with a number of different recipes from many sources, but couldn't find one that I like, so I finally settled on one of my own.

I weigh my ingredients instead of measuring.  I made that conversion a long time ago.  And let me tell you, if you haven't yet, do it.  You will love me for it.  Well, then again you may love me already, :-) in which case you would love me even more.

Pim's shortcake
(makes about 12)

550 g. Pastry flour
100 g. granulated sugar
1tbsp+1teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp. salt
80 g. butter
500 ml. or 2 cups of heavy cream
zests from 1 lemon
some mints for garnish

1. Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.  Well, on my lazy days I just stir them around without sifting, which works just fine as well--just don't say it too loudly.  shhhh.......
2. Cut the butter, using a pastry cutter or fork, or even your own fingers, just make sure you work fast and your hands are cold so the butter is not melted.  Get the butter well distributed into the flour mixture, which should resemble coarse crumb by the time you are done. 
3. Zest the lemon, then stir the zests into the cream until well mixed.
4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, pour the cream into it, then slowly and gently mix the wet and dry ingredients together until the dough becomes a loose and wet mass.
5. Turn the dough onto a pastry board which has been lightly floured.  Knead it a few times to get the dough to form a more or less smooth mass. 
6. Press it out to a circle, then roll it out to about 1 inch thick and cut into 2.5 inches circle, using a very sharp dough cutter.  It is important to use a very sharp cutter to make sure the biscuits rise properly during baking.  Knead the leftover dough together and cut into more circles, don't worry too much about it getting tough, with this much fat, this dough is rather forgiving.  You should get between 12-15 rounds when you are done. 
7.  Brush the top with either leftover cream or some egg wash.  Bake immediately.
8.  Bake in a preheated oven at 400F or 200C, for about 15-18 minutes.  You will smell it when it's done. 

For strawberry shortcake
1. Wash and dry your strawberries well, put into a large bowl, add some sugar, lemon juice, a handful of mint, and a few tablespoonfuls of Grande Marnier to give your berries an extra kick.  Macerate the berries in the fridge for an hour or two until ready to serve.
2.  Whip the cream, about 700 g., with a few tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt, until it forms a soft peak.  Use the best quality cream you could find because it will be all you taste.  I use Strauss Organic Heavy Cream, which super heavenly whipped cream, in my opinion at least.  I like the cream lightly sweetened, so I don't use a lot of sugar on mine, preferring to let the sweetness of the berries shine.  But you, of course, could do whatever you want. 

To serve:
Slice the biscuits into halves, pile strawberries on the bottom pieces, letting a few drop out onto the plates, drop a healthy dollop of cream in the middle, then top each one with a top of the biscuit.  Garnish with some mints if you have any handy.

Bon appetit!  And be sure to let me know how you like it.

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