If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~ William Morris

22 May, 2017

On the Menu ~ Strawberry Shortcake Two Ways

I ask you, lives there such a man?  Perhaps.  However, in my research I found that 'short cake' applies to a vast array of different types of 'cake' on which to place one's strawberries, meaning that, depending on the type of cake such a man's mother, wife or sister made that is still burned in his memory and palate, he may very well be offended by a differing recipe made by you.

According to Jane Eayre Fryer of Mrs. Fryer's Cookbook and Practical Home Economics (1926) 
(I own a crumbling original copy of this tome), a plain short cake consists of the following:

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
3 tbs butter and
about 2/3 cup milk.

It should make a soft dough, rolled out about a half inch thick and baked in a hot oven.  When cold, it is cut open, buttered and spread with fruit and meringue.  She suggested (and I simply don't know how this is possible), to bake it in two round cake pans and when cool, split them and layer into four layers.  They would be extremely thin layers.  She suggest that strawberries are the best but other berries and peaches work too.

It strikes me that this would make a very dry, thin biscuit type platform and in my experience, probably wouldn't work terribly well gluten free, something I have to do out of necessity.

I have labeled a dessert 'shortcake' using both angel food cake (which I haven't made since I had eggs coming out of my ears while raising my own hens) and both a simple, plain white square cake. 

Of course there is the more southern version, kind of like a sweet biscuit.  I have to say, I personally like that one the best as it transfers flawlessly to gluten free baking.

This particular recipe was clipped from a copy of Southern Living for which I have no date.  I hesitate to call it classic however because of the reasons listed above.  

There appears to be no 'one way' to do it right.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

2 1/2 c gf flour or 2 3/4 c regular flour
1/4 c sugar
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 c cold butter cut up
2 large eggs
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry ingredients and cut in the butter until crumbly.
Mix the eggs and sour cream together and add into the dry ingredients.
I brought mine together with my hands and then rolled it out to about 1 inch thick on a parchment covered baking sheet and cut them into 9 squares and separated them about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 450 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Split them and butter (or not) lightly, add your strawberries which I normally slice ahead, sweeten to taste with sugar and mash a little with a fork.  The longer they sit the juicier they will get.

Top with home made whipped cream.

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