It was a disaster. My biscuits were neither fluffy, nor sweet, and my whipped cream was not as much creamy as it was milky. Despite it all, I was off on a mission to bake and write my way through my 23rd year, and here I am about to be 24 and making strawberry shortcake with less than ideal results yet again.
So even though shortcake biscuits appear to be my baking nemesis, I can safely say I've come a long way. As with any amount of passing time, one hopes to get wiser and achieve some sense of heightened clarity. I am none of those things, but I am dorkier, more adventurous, and even more than ever a lover of sweets.
A quote I stumbled across a long time ago, and one that has stuck with me as I feel it speaks to life in a larger more metaphorical way, refers to strawberry shortcake in its most perfect (or not so perfect) form. James Beard once said, "There can be no dessert better, only fancier."
It was good. I promise it was good. Just not as good as his. They were not fluffy, and somehow despite the recipes promise that it was impossible to overwork this dough- I did it anyway. Then I pressed it out too thin and made slightly overdone shortbread cookies.
I am probably being to hard on myself, because afterall there is still no better dessert I can think of, only fancier, and in the case of my version- a lot fancier.
As much as I love Seattle, there is something about the 4th of July, summer, and my upcoming birthday that makes me miss the East Coast just a bit. So in the spirit of America, birthdays, home, and growing up- lets all eat shortcake.
James Beard Strawberry Short Cake
2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soda
6 tablespoons butter (chilled and cubed).
2 hard boiled egg yolks (pressed through a micro strainer)
3/4 cup cream
Whisk together flour, sugar, and powder. Add in butter, working it into the dough with fingers or pastry cutter. Add in yolks, stir. Fold in cream and mix until just combined. Chill. Press out into 1.5 inch thick rounds and cut into circles. Paint with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar (I used maple sugar). Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool.
For the strawberries:
Wash and cut strawberries into halves or quarters. Place into glass bowl with a squeeze of lemon and sugar.
For the cream:
Whip 1 quarte of heavy whipping cream with about 1/4 cup sugar.