My second post for Mmm... Canada is for the sweet side of the event. As opposed to my daring poutine for the savoury edition, I took a traditional approach this time.
Strawberries say Canada to me. In late June and July there are countless trips to the farmer's market to stock up on fresh strawberries. Many are eaten as-is on a sunny afternoon, others are chopped up and stored in a bowl to be used as part of breakfast.
One of my favourite preparations is also one of my happiest childhood memories: strawberry shortcakes. I've been eating them as a summertime treat for as long as I can remember. I'm sure there will be many strawberry shortcakes in the round-up, but I don't mind - I'm actually looking forward to peaking at other recipes!
Back home in Canada my mother is Official Head Strawberry Shortcake Chef, however over here in the UK I'm having to go it alone - with a little help from T. I baked up the shortcakes (which meant turning on the oven on an unusually warm day for Britain), whipped up the cream and sliced up the strawberries (sourced from Borough Market). We then devoured them sitting in the sunshine on a beautiful summery day, just as it's meant to be.
I've learned a good lesson in all of this: use cold and rainy days to bake up a few shortcakes (which really doesn't take much time at all). That way you can always have a few on standby in the freezer for impromptu guests or days where you just want to be outside all day and not next to a warm oven.
Recipe - Strawberry Shortcake
Adapted from Tartelette
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar + 1 Tb
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tb chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup + 1 Tb single cream (aka half-and-half or coffee cream)
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter and cut with a pastry cutter, two knives, or finger tips into pea-sized beads. Add 3/4 cup cream and gather into a ball. Knead once or twice. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 min.
Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Remove dough from fridge and lightly knead a few times on a floured surface. Roll out until 1/2 inch thick. Cut 3 1/2" circles into dough with biscuit cutter (or the rim of a glass like I used). Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet and brush with the remaining tablespoon of cream. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Place biscuits in preheated oven for 15 min. (Watch them closely as mine only took about 12 minutes in a convection oven). You want them to be nice and golden, but not overly brown.
Once completely cooled, slice open the shortcakes, fill with your favourite whipped cream and plenty of thinly sliced strawberries. (This point is a matter of personal preference, some like sliced, others diced, or even crushed. Just pick your favourite!). Place the top of the biscuit back on and dig in!
*The original recipe was only supposed to make 6 but I got way more (8 good sized ones and scraps still left over), therefore I'm going to say this serves 8. The recipe also doubles and halves well.