Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake


Summer has officially arrived in California. Strawberries are finally in season! There are strawberries sold on the side of the road year-round. It's really a bait and switch, because the strawberries that you get in the fall or winter just taste like slightly strawberry-flavored water with strawberry texture. Ick.


I went to the beach this past weekend, and on the way home stopped by a truck selling strawberries on the side of strawberry fields. I probably ate about a third of the giant box just driving home. They were so sweet and juicy. Now, I have not had my grandma's strawberries in years, so I can't really compare, but I imagine these came close. (I'm sure she would disagree.)


I've made this strawberry shortcake recipe several times. And it does not disappoint (unless your baking powder is old and not very active, then they just come out a little flat). It's from Cook's Illustrated. I can't point to their recipe online because they require a paid subscription, but I have their awesome book that has more recipes that you will ever need. It's true, I think some recipes are unnecessarily complicated (blueberry muffins require you to make blueberry jam), but a lot of them are spot on.


The dough comes together within 15 minutes in the food processor, the shortbread bakes in 12 minutes, the whipped cream comes together in literally about 90 seconds. About a third of the quartered berries are mashed with sugar and the rest are left crisp - so you get the perfect mix of berry you can chew and strawberry juice to soak the barely sweet shortbread. It's a summer staple!


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