Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Strawberries and Cream

To celebrate the coming into season of our local strawberries (the small, round ones that are juicy red all through), yesterday I made strawberry shortcake (recipe at the end of this post).

To make it even more delightful, I invited my friend Margaret and her daughter, Carolyn, over to knit and crochet while we drank tea and enjoyed the berries. Margaret and I met less than a year ago, but our lives seem to intersect in many ways. She'll be one of Isabel's computer science professors next year at Queen's. She grew up in the DC area, where we lived for 16 years and where Isabel was born. She and Carolyn are both stunningly talented musicians--it must run in their family because I learned yesterday that her parents were both musicians in the National Symphony Orchestra. Margaret and Carolyn and I all played in the Queen's School of Computing annual concert last year. Margaret is a knitter and took my fair isle and steek classes last winter; Carolyn crochets, is a computer science grad student, and has published sci fi short stories (under a pen name). We had such a fun afternoon.

Strawberry Shortcake

2 c unbleached flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp butter or non-hydrogenated margarine (I used Becel)
1 c yogourt or buttermilk
½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix the dry ingredients together. Cut the butter (or margarine) into the flour mixture. Add the yogourt or buttermilk and vanilla and blend lightly with a fork. Do not overmix. Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a parchment covered baking sheet. Makes 8-12, depending on desired size of shortcakes. Bake 12-15 min or until golden brown on the bottom.

1 quart strawberries
1 tbsp sugar (optional)

Clean, hull, and slice the strawberries (leave a few whole for garnish). Mix with the sugar (if using) and allow to sit for 15 min while the berries release their juice. Stir once more.

Whipped Cream
2 c heavy cream

Whip, using an electric mixer (or by hand) until stiff peaks form.

Temperature of components is critical. The shortcakes should be warm (heat them if necessary), the cream cold, and the berries room temperature.

Split the shortcakes, fill them with strawberries, and top with cream and a few whole  berries.