Seize-the-Day Strawberry Shortcake
After my our annual strawberry picking at Ioka Valley Farm, our favorite feast is strawberry shortcake — warm, dense biscuits topped with juicy ripe berries and fresh whipped local cream from High Lawn Farm. I sometimes plan ahead, making biscuits before we pick, then storing them, uncooked, in the freezer on parchment-lined sheet pans. That way, they’re ready to pop into the oven for an ideal strawberry shortcake supper on our return. It’s our once-a-year dessert-for-dinner meal. Caveat emptor: The season for local berries short. So savor them on and in everything until you’re satisfied, then wait until next year’s harvest to enjoy the real thing again. Here are some of our favorite places for strawberry picking.—Amy Cotler, The Locavore Way
Amy Cotler will be teaching a “Greens and Strawberry Workshop” at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, NY, on June 25 from 5 - 9 p.m.
Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake
Makes 12 shortcakes or 6 generous servings.
3 pints local strawberries (or any local berry)
sugar to taste
2 cups all purpose flour
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup heavy local cream
4 to 5 tablespoons butter, melted
l. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. Hull (or cut the tops from) the strawberries. Slice thickly. In a medium bowl, mash slightly with a potato masher or large spoon until very coarsely chopped. Stir in sugar to taste and set aside.
3. Sift together in a medium bowl the flour, a heaping tablespoon of the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add 1 cup of the cream, then mix the dough with your hands or a rubber spatula. Knead no more than a minute, just to bring the dough together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board or counter. Pat it into a square about ½ inch thick. Cut the dough into 12 squares or use a biscuit cutter to cut 12 rounds.
4. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Pour half of the melted butter onto the baking sheet. Place the biscuits on top, and pour or brush the remaining butter over each. Bake 12 minutes, or until the tops just begin to brown.
5. While the shortcakes are cooking, with a hand whisk or an electric beater set on high, whip the remaining cream just until it forms soft peaks, seasoning it to taste with a touch of the remaining sugar.
6. Split the biscuits gently by hand or with a fork, and place on 6 plates or in 6 shallow bowls. Top the bottom halves with the berries and whipped cream. Place the second halves on top. Or let diners prepare their own feast. Eat immediately