31 March 2007

Deer Lake Strawberry Shortcake and Strawberry Lemon Shortcake

As a child strawberries became synonymous with the "Strawberry Social" fundraiser we attended in elementary school. Part of the strawberries appeal is that it's arrival marks the beginning of summer. Strawberry shortcake brings memories of lazy summer days, warm sunshine and childhood pursuits.
Strawberries have grown wild for millennia. They began being cultivated sometime before the Christian era, but, it was not until the 18th century that strawberries developed into the luscious fruit we know them to be. In 1714 a French engineer brought many samples back from Chile and,which, when planted crossbred with smaller European varieties.

There are almost as many recipes for shortcake as there are cooks, but I prefer this cake-like, buttery rendition I acquired from Canadian Living magazine years ago.

**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 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup very soft butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs

 1. 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.
2. 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).

3. 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

**Strawberry and Lemon Shortcake**
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups lemon curd (recipe follows)
Whipped Cream Filling
  • 2 cups 35% whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups strawberries
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • mint sprigs and icing sugar for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line 13 x 7-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium speed, beat butter and sugar together until light in colour, 3 - 4 minutes, scraping bowl down periodically. Slowly add eggs in 4 additions, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed, and alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

3.Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes to ensure even browning. Bake an additional 10 - 15 minutes, or until cake is golden in colour and springs back lightly when touched. Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool. Once cool to the touch turn out cake and remove parchment paper. Cool completely. Cut into 15 equal squares. Cut each in half horizontally.

4. While cake is baking, place berries in a bowl; sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice. Let stand until juices are released.

5. Place chilled cream in a metal bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Add vanilla extract and chill. (While beating to stabilize the whipped cream so that it does not separate when prepared ahead of time add 2 tsp skim milk powder).

To assemble:

1. Place a bottom half of one piece of cake on each dessert plate. Divide berries and liquid evenly, top with a dollop each of the lemon curd and whipping cream; top with a final piece of cake. Garnish with mint sprigs, and a sprinkle of icing sugar.

**Lemon Curd**

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoon lemon zest
6 eggs

1. In a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook, stirring constantly, until all butter is melted and sugar is dissolved about 4 minutes.

2. In a heatproof bowl, whisk eggs. Continue whisking while pouring in about 1 cup of hot lemon liquid.

3. Once combined transfer egg mixture back to saucepan, and continue to cook, over medium-low heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.

4. Strain through fine sieve to remove any egg particles and to create an ultra smooth curd. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap. Cool in fridge until ready to serve with Strawberry & Lemon Shortcake Best Blogger Tips

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