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A dessert for Spring (if it ever comes)

Posted by Sheryl Julian  April 21, 2009 10:56 AM

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Last Spring, during June's local strawberry season, I decided I wanted to make shortcake, so I took a favorite scone recipe and added much more liquid, then baked it in an ordinary layer cake pan. The cake is so light and easy, very crusty on top from a generous sprinkle of granulated sugar. When it's done, I sprinkle it again, this time with confectioners' sugar. Save this for the day when you go into the markets and the berries look beautiful.

I made it last weekend and instead of garnishing the slices with whipped cream, I used plain yogurt, which I flavored with vanilla (or use vanilla yogurt). The berries have enough sweetness so you probably don't need to add sugar to the yogurt.

Strawberry shortcake
Serves 6

SHORTCAKE
Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut up
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
Extra granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
Confectioners' sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch layer cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper cut to fit it. Butter the paper and dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder.
3. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or two blunt knives to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles crumbs.
4. Stir the granulated sugar into the flour mixture.
5. In a bowl mix the cream and egg. With a rubber spatula, stir the cream mixture into the flour mixture just until it forms a moist batter. Do not over mix.
6. Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake the shortcake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7. Let the shortcake cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Turn it out onto a plate, then turn it right side up onto a flat cake platter. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

STRAWBERRIES
1 pint strawberries, trimmed and halved or sliced
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, softly whipped

1. In a bowl, layer the berries and sugar. Set them aside for 15 minutes. Stir gently.
2. Cut the cake into 6 triangles and set them on dessert plates. Spoon berries and cream on the wedges. Sheryl Julian

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.

Contributors

Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.
 

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