We got to go pick strawberries in our area this weekend, which is an exciting event in anybody’s life. We found the farm last year right after we moved here, and loved it enough to make it one of our first annual traditions in Virginia. We ended up with about 16 pounds in total, so the rest of the weekend was spent alternately slicing them to prep for the freezer and shoving them into our faces. This is hopefully one of many little seasonal traditions we’ll start as we keep learning to live simply and get closer to our food. Rachel and I have been gaining an appreciation for growing and seasons and preserving food for the future. Last year’s berries lasted almost until now, so we’re excited to keep learning how to make the most of food when it is available naturally and locally.
Anyway, one of my favorite ways to accomplish this shoving of strawberries into my happy face is strawberry shortcake. Now right away, I’ll warn all you people looking for spongecakes and cute little strawberry towers in champagne glasses for your Pinterest boards that I’m probably going to disappoint you a little. To me, strawberry shortcake is about simple summer joys and fresh fruit, not decadence and piles of whipped cream. We grew up with the more biscuit-y version as a summer treat, and my Mom says her family would have it for dinner. It’s Pennsylvania Dutch in all its deceptive simplicity, but this is by no means a boring treat.
My favorite way of eating this is actually just sprinkled with a little sugar in a bowl with some milk. The biscuit softens and sweetens and is a perfect counterpoint to the bright, tart/sweet berries. Seriously try it before you get out your whipped cream.
This is a recipe I modified from a shortcake recipe I found online, which probably modified from somewhere else. I wanted to find one that uses buttermilk, since a lot of them call for cream and I thought it was a little overkill. This recipe makes a crumbly, slightly sweet biscuit that does really well here (and probably would stand up well to other applications too). Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Buttermilk Shortcake Recipe (for Strawberry Shortcakes)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tb white sugar
2 tb brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 tb cold butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup milk)
Make this like any other biscuit or whatever. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl (or like me, in a food processor). Then, cut in the butter and run the processer until the butter is well integrated and the whole mix kind of looks mealy.
Mix the vanilla into the buttermilk, and gradually add the liquid to the dry stuff until it comes together into a clumpy dough. I poured it gently in while the processor was running, but you could just stir it in.
Scoop the dough into small lumps onto a sheet pan (I was able to get 9 out of the recipe) and bake in an oven at about 400°F for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you can take it out when the shortcakes start browning in spots and look delicious. Cool for a little before eating.
To make your strawberry shortcakes, slice the biscuits in half and layer with some fresh strawberries. You can mix the strawberries with some sugar ahead of time to make them more juicy, and you can also use whipped cream if that’s your preference. Eat it with friends and appreciate the joys of summer and simple living.
Let me know what you think! Do you have any summer favorites you’d like to see done here on Foodie’s Arsenal?