We are asked by Jennifer of the Domestic Goddess to submit a dessert recipe that we feel goes back to our Canadian roots for the yearly Mmmm ..Canada event.
So what is Canadian?
Italian, French, Greek, Chinese and other cuisines are easily defineable. What all of the above cuisines have in common is that when they are preparing these regional dishes the cooks used ingredients that are available to them in their own country or region to create their every day foods. A cuisine is built on foods we eat on a day to day basis at home or what is available to us in restaurants. This is also true of Canadian cuisine. We use ingredients that we find in our local farmers markets but also depend heavily on our ethnic roots from province to province. Canada was built on its British and French roots which means you could be chomping down on Tart de Sucre in Quebec, Nanaimo Bars in British Columbia or Butter Tarts in Ontario.
Canada is a melting pot of diverse cultures that has heavily influenced our day to day foods in a big way from the Eastern shores of the Maritime Provinces to the Pacific Ocean on the West Coast. Living in British Columbia we have what we call West Coast cuisine which is essentially just utilizing the freshest local ingredients available ...just as they do in every province and territory across the country. If you asked a Canadian in Halifax, Nova Scotia or Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to define what they eat on a daily basis you would have two different answers. Ask your neighbour what they had for dinner last night and see what the ethnic influences are. Like everyone else we use what's in our backyard and cook with what's around us."
So what is the first thing that came to my mind when I was asked to make a Canadian dessert.....Strawberry Shortcake!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a Canadian version made with cake and not biscuits like our American counterparts. Where exactly the difference originated I have no idea but I do remember reading about it years ago (most likely in Canadian Living Magazine) about this fact. In Canada, as a general rule, we are given a British based short"cake" and in the States they make a biscuit out of "short"ening. Is it "short" or is it "cake"...who cares...both versions are delicious.
As a child strawberries became synonomous with the "Strawberry Social" fundraisers we attended in elementary school. Parents, teachers, brothers, sisters all together smoozing over strawberries and whipped cream on tender buttery cakes. The teachers would bake the cakes and the kids would spend the afternnoon hulling and slicing berries. Part of the strawberries appeal as always is that it's arrival marks the beginning of summer!!!!!!!!!!! Strawberry shortcake brings memories of lazy summer days, warm sunshine and childhood pursuits.
This is the simple, buttery cake I remember from my childhood.
**Deer Lake Strawberry Shortcake**
7 cups strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
2-1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
3-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup very soft butter
1 tsp vanilla
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, butter and vanilla; beat at low speed just to blend. Beat at medium speed for 2 - 3 minutes, scraping down side and bottom of bowl twice. Add eggs, beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.Grease and flour a 9-inch square cake pan; line with waxed paper. Spread batter evenly in pan; Bake in 350 F for 45 - 55 minutes or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack. (Cake can be stored in airtight container for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 1 month).Slice berries and combine with sugar; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Whip cream. Slice cake into 2 layers. Reserve 2 cups berry mixture for topping. Spoon remaining berry mixture over bottom layer, spread with about 1/3 of the whipped cream. Top with second layer, cut side down. Ice sides and top with remaining cream. Spoon reserved berries over each serving.Serves 16
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