Sunday, July 1, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

If you want the perfect dessert to round out your 4th of July menu, look no further than this recipe.  Strawberry shortcake is an iconic American dish, dating back to the Colonial era.  Colonists recreated a Native American dessert of wild strawberries pounded into corn bread, but they added biscuit dough instead, and copious amounts of whipped cream.  If you'd rather have a blue and white dessert than red and white, check out my Blueberry Cobbler from last year.

For the strawberries:
  • 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
For the shortcake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2/3 cup vegan buttermilk*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 Ener-G egg
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
For the remaining ingredients:
  • 2 cups whipped Soyatoo whippable topping**
  • Additional whipped topping (optional for garnish)
  • Whole strawberries (optional for garnish)
1. First, combine the strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in a bowl.  Cover and chill for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the shortcake: lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Combine the flour in a bowl with 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, lemon rind, salt, and baking soda.  Cut the butter into small pieces, and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

3. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract, and add to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist (the dough will be sticky).

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Use floured hands to knead lightly about 4 times, then pat into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Brush with the Ener-G egg, and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

Note: you can use regular vegan sugar on top as well, but the coarse grains of turbinado add a much better crunch.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes - a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then use a serrated knife to cut the shortcake in half horizontally.  Be careful, as this is a delicate operation, but I actually was surprised at how easily the halves came apart if you cut in a circular motion around the biscuit  Cool the layers completely on a wire rack.

6. Place the bottom half of the shortcake, cut side up, on a serving plate.  Drain the strawberries, but reserve the juice.  Drizzle the juice over the bottom half of the shortcake.

7. Spread 2 cups whipped topping over the strawberry juice, and arrange the strawberries over the whipped topping.  

8. Cover with the remaining shortcake layer, cut side down.  Don't forget extra whipped topping and whole strawberries for a pretty garnish. 

*To prepare the buttermilk, place 2 teaspoons lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.  Fill with plain non-dairy milk to equal 2/3 cup; let stand for 5 minutes to clabber (sour).

**Soyatoo's whippable topping is sold in a box, in liquid form.  Pour into a bowl and beat with a hand mixer for 3 to 4 minutes, until thick.  I don't recommend substituting their spray whipped cream from a can for this recipe.  For more fun with Soyatoo, see my posts for Buttered Rum-Raisin Cream Pie or Frozen White Chocolate and Hazelnut Mousse.

Nutrition Info:
10 servings (1 wedge), Calories 246 

Tasting Notes:
This dessert is amazing.  The best shortcake biscuit I've ever baked - light and fluffy, but with a beautiful crunch from the turbinado on top, and bright lemon flavor from the rind.  The filling was just a heaping pile of goodness - fluffy whipped cream and fresh strawberries.  I wouldn't change a thing.  


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