Friday, April 17, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Strawberry shortcake a summer star

Strawberry shortcake makes a great summer treat.

By Kim Ode
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
— William Shakespeare, from his sonnet on shortcake

You’re skeptical? You doubt that Shakespeare would have expended his considerable talents writing about something as ordinary as shortcake?
You may be right.
But he should have, given how his words sum up this summery dessert. After all, an unadorned shortcake right out of the oven is good — very good — but not “great.” With the right recipe and a light touch, a shortcake can achieve greatness.
But it’s when you ladle on juicy, slightly sugared strawberries and add a cloud of freshly whipped cream, that shortcake is thrust into iconic status among desserts.
By all accounts, it’s an American concoction. Biscuits of European descent commingled with Uncle Sam’s strawberries sometime in the 1840s. Over the next decade, people held actual strawberry-shortcake parties as a celebration of summer’s arrival, according to Evan Jones in “American Food: The Gastronomic Story.”
Today’s shortcake recipes have changed little: basically, a baking-powder-biscuit dough enriched with an egg and a little sugar. The buttermilk gets nudged aside as well, often replaced by whole milk, half-and-half or even heavy cream, which threatens to take it out of shortcake territory and into the scone zone.
Needless to say, those little spongey-cakey cups have no standing here.
Our shortcake recipe uses half-and-half and swaps in brown sugar for half of the white sugar, which gives the shortcake a slightly caramel note. After that, we stay out of greatness’ way, taking care only to work the combined dry and wet ingredients as quickly and delicately as possible, kneading the dough for no more than 30 seconds.
Gently pat the dough to a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick, then cut rounds with a biscuit cutter, pressing straight down — twisting can seal the layers, leading to a dense shortcake — then place it upside-down on a baking sheet (again, to help ensure the highest rise).
OK, we do embellish greatness a bit, topping each cake with a gloss of half-and-half and a sprinkling of sparkling sugar.
Shakespeare may have counseled against painting the lily, calling it “ridiculous excess.”
When it comes to strawberry shortcake, though, that sounds just right.

Strawberry Shortcake
Makes 8.

Note: This recipe is adapted slightly from “The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.” Extra shortcakes may be frozen; to use, place frozen on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

The berry ingredients:

8 cups strawberries, hulled

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

The shortcake ingredients:

2 cups flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

2/3 cup half-and-half, plus extra for brushing

1 egg

Sparkling sugar

The topping ingredients:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, to taste

Putting it together:

To prepare berries: Slice the berries and sprinkle with 6 tablespoons granulated sugar. Let berries sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and berries are juicy, about 30 minutes.

To make shortcake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place rack in middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.

Add cold butter pieces, working them into the flour with a pastry cutter, or your fingers, until the mixture resembles cornmeal and no large lumps of butter remain.

In a small bowl, whisk together half-and-half and egg. Stir into flour mixture until dough comes together in a sticky mass.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead lightly until it comes together, about 30 seconds. Dust the counter with a bit more flour, then pat dough into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Cut 6 rounds with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, pressing straight down — twisting can seal the layers, leading to a dense shortcake — then place them upside-down on a baking sheet (helps ensure the highest rise).

No biscuit cutter? You also can cut squares with a knife.

Gather the scraps, knead briefly, and cut out 2 more shortcakes.

Brush each round with some half-and-half, then sprinkle with sparkling sugar.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until just golden. Let cool on wire rack.

To assemble: Combine cream with powdered sugar and whip until stiff. With a serrated knife, slice each shortcake in half and lay the bottom on individual serving plates. Spoon a portion of fruit over each bottom, top with a dollop of whipped cream, then cap with the shortcake tops. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving with no whipped cream:

Calories 329 Fat 12 g Sodium 167 mg

Carbohydrates 51 g Saturated fat 7 g Calcium 57 mg

Protein 6 g Cholesterol 54 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fruit, 2 bread/starch, 1/2 other carb, 2-1/2 fat.

Comments

comments

Scripps Howard News Service

.

News

Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UCD study: Crickets not enough to feed the world just yet

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1

It’ll be a perfect day for a picnic — and lots more

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Turning a mess into olive oil success

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UCD expands emergency notification service

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A2

 
California vaccine bill stalls; will come back next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Cities: California water reduction order unrealistic, unfair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Chasing criminals and water-wasters

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Enjoy a chemistry bang on Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Start your Picnic Day with pancakes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Local students to perform at fundraising concert

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
CA House hosts crepe breakfast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Doxie Derby crowns the winning wiener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Fundraiser benefits Ugandan women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

See pups at Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Davis poet will read his work at library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

 
Rotary Club hosts whisky tasting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Ribs and Rotary benefits local charities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Dodd plans fundraising barbecue in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Soroptimists set date for golf tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Socks collected for homeless veterans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Council will present environmental awards Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Invention and upcycling to be honored at Square Tomatoes Fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Take a peek at Putah Creek on daylong tour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Pence Gallery Garden Tour tickets on sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
UC Davis Circle K Club wins awards at district convention

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis authors featured at writing conference in Stockton

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Sign up soon for Davis history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Campus firearms bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Emerson featured at photography program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Portuguese influence in Yolo County detailed

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Concert and dance party celebrate KDRT’s 10 years on the air

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Survival skills to be taught at preserve

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The new one puts her foot down

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

It’s time to fight for California’s jobs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Future leaders give back

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Know where your gift is going

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Pipeline veto a good move

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Artists offer heartfelt thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Sports

DHS boys drop another Delta League match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie women ready to host (win?) Big West golf tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

New strength coach hopes to stem UCD football injury tide

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Herd has too much for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Les, AD Gould talk about the Aggie coach’s future

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Quintet of Aggie gymnasts honored for academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
River Cats fall to Las Vegas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

 
Diamondbacks defeat Giants in 12 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

DSF kicks off 10th anniversary celebration at the carousel

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
Many summer enrichment opportunities available for students

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

.

Arts

‘True Story:’ In their dreams

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
‘Once’ an unforgetable celebration of music, relationships

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Honda shows off new Civic at New York show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Obituaries

Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 17, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B10