I love strawberries. Is it even possible to NOT love them? They are a cheerful red, and their heart shape seems to say, Go ahead and eat me. I’ll still love you. They are the Pollyanna of fruit. Although typically they are categorized as a summer fruit, they are available any time during the year, thanks to our capitalist society and amazing advancements in the transportation/supply chain industry. Keep that in mind as fall inches closer and closer, and when the warm days of summer retreat and the cool temperatures of fall start to move in, it’s nice to know when you yearn for those summer days, just grab a few strawberries and viola! Summer is instantly back. To help give you inspiration, I’ve selected one of the most popular strawberry desserts to share with you: Homemade Strawberry Shortcake. Enjoy! Oh, and in case any of you are wondering why I can’t spell the word “try”, I’m a nerdy ninnyhammer and I like to do nerdy ninnyhammer stuff, like substitute one word for another. In this case I used “tri” instead of “try” in reference to the shape of the shortcake. Dumb? Yes. Has it dawned on me that if I have to take the time to explain my goofiness and classify myself as a nerdy ninnyhammer, perhaps I should consider such wordplay as ineffective, or (even better) a waste of time? Yes. Will I stop doing it? Probably not, but that’s part of the reason why I consider myself a ninnyhammer.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 TBSP sugar, divided
- 1 ½ TBSP baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 ¼ cups heavy cream, divided
- 6 cups stemmed fresh strawberries, divided
- 1 cup simple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Confectioner’s sugar (as needed)
Tools needed (not including the typical tools which include measuring cups and spoons, mixer, bowls, cooking equipment, etc.):
- Fork or pastry cutter
- Pizza slicer or knife
- Plastic wrap
- Parchment paper
- Sift flour, 2 TBSP sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in butter to fine particles. Stir in 1 to 1 and ½ cups heavy cream, just enough so that the dough holds together and is soft but not sticky. On a floured surface, knead dough lightly a few times to form a ball. Pat into a ½ inch thick block. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the dough into triangles (approx. 4 inches per side) using a pizza cutter or knife. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes or until the triangles are golden.
- In a saucepan, simmer 4 cups strawberries in the simple syrup (recipe below) until jam-like consistency (approximately 10 minutes); cool. Slice remaining strawberries. Whip ¾ cup heavy cream with vanilla and 1 TBSP sugar with a mixer until peaks form (you just made whipped cream! Yay! Or take the easy route and buy the pre-made stuff at the store).
- To serve, cut shortcakes in half horizontally. Place the shortcake bottom on a dessert plate and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Layer the cooked berries, the whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Place the shortcake top on the fresh berries, drizzle extra cooked berries and confectioner’s sugar if desired.
Simple Syrup Recipe:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat; stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly (or at least frequently. Hey, I’m a mom, so I have to improvise on occasion. Besides, my kids have some sort of sixth sense or internal alarm that notifies them when I’m doing something that requires my full attention, such as cooking something, going potty, talking on the phone, etc. When they hear that alarm go off, they use that time to become adventurers and engage in wonderful activities including trying to swing from one window curtain to another, climb walls, jump off their beds and sustain injuries that require a trip to the nearest urgent care or ER, etc. ); boil for 15-20 minutes. Syrup will get a teensy bit thicker, but not as thick as maple syrup.