Thursday, June 2, 2011

Taste of Heaven

If manna was anything like this the Israelites wouldn’t have complained as they wandered the dessert.DSCN1508

It’s a summer staple around here and oh so easy to make you’ve got no excuse not to try it. Even if you don’t like strawberries – how about fresh peach shortcake (oh baby… I dare say I like that even better…) or a multi-berry shortcake with a mix of your favorites.

Around here if there are any leftovers (maybe when I make a double batch) they’re yummy with a cup of tea in the morning.DSCN1476

Gather your ingredients (be sure you’ve got fresh baking powder. If it’s been more than 6 months since you opened your can go ahead and get a new one.)

  • 4 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cups heavy whipping cream (no butter or shortening necessary…THIS is the fat…)

Heat your oven to 400° (that’s a real sacrifice in the summer time – you might want to bake these early in the day) and lightly grease a cookie sheet. I like to use a well seasoned baking stone.

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Gradually add the cream, tossing mixture with a fork or wooden spoon until clumps form. DSCN1478

DSCN1480Press the clumps into a fairly smooth ball with a motion similar to kneading – but don’t overwork your dough.  DSCN1487

Pinch out a bit of dough and quickly shape it into a small cake. You’ll get about a dozen from this recipe.DSCN1488

Place the cakes on your prepared cookie sheet or stone and sprinkle the top with just a little sugar. (This is optional – but it makes it pretty for the few seconds that your cakes are visible before you consume them…) DSCN1491

Bake for 15 minutes  or until the tops and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack covered with a clean dish towel for 10 minutes before you fill them. This is the hardest step.DSCN1501

I always prefer freshly whipped cream to that nasty stuff in the tub but I have, on rare occasions, used the canned variety of whipped cream.DSCN1482

Whipping cream is easy peasy. Gather those ingredients. (I show granulated sugar here, but your cream will hold its firm texture longer if you use powdered sugar.) When you decide to make these recipes (this afternoon) go ahead and get a quart of the heavy whipping cream – 2 cups for the short cakes and 2 cups to whip up and top them.

For 15 or more minutes before you beat your cream, chill your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer. The deeper your mixing bowl the fewer splatters you’ll have when mixing.

Beat 2 Cups of heavy whipping cream with about 1 teaspoon of a good quality pure vanilla extract and somewhere between 1/2 to 2/3 cup of sugar (I like a little less).

Beat to stiff peaks – don’t beat too long or it starts to get lumpy and then will quickly turn to butter… We don’t want that.DSCN1499

I’ve washed and cut my berries into chunks and sprinkled them with a little (more) sugar. To speed the juicing of the berries along I use my stick blender to whiz some of them up into a thick berry sauce. You can just smoosh them with your hands too…

Split your now cooled cakes with a fork and layer them with your berry and cream goodness.DSCN1506

Enjoy! (But not too often… these babies are loaded with fat and calories…)DSCN1510

Note: This shortcake recipe originally appeared in the June 2 1992 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. Wow – I didn’t realize that until a few minutes ago when I double checked my recipe. Almost 20 years ago today…

Don’t forget – I’ve got not one, but TWO giveaways going on right now – 10 of my favorite things and a Marriage Pillow from Cha Cha’s Treasure. Click the links and enter!

Here’s some great foodie linky parties I like to join – give them a visit!

Whistle Stop Café Cooking


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