Strawberry Shortcakes

This is a very special post. For many reasons. For one thing this is the first of the 5 that will complete the 100 recipes on the blog. Very special. It is dedicated to my eternal second home the good old state of Florida. There were the South opened its arm and welcome me. A desert with character and the true meaning of soul food. Also it was created only days after a dream just died and took me back to square 1. Not the first time. But enough with emotions. Let ’s go together and see what makes this desert so special, so incredible and so surprisingly fresh.

Strawberry shortcake is one the most traditional southerner deserts. It combines many of the ingredients of the south, cream, butter, sugar biscuits… Oh yeah it does have biscuits. Although the name itself suggest a sort of a cake, and the recently the convenience and time efficient have actually offered the option of the cake, the real shortcake is a sweet biscuit. The biscuit is from the french word biscuit which is derived from the Latin words bis (twice) and coquere, coctus (to cook, cooked), and, hence, means “twice-cooked”. Originally the biscuits were breads that after baking were cut and baked a second time to harden. A great way to make bread last longer, especially when it is indented for long trips etc. The modernization of the cuisine and the kitchen tools in the 19th century made the second baking obsolete, since now fretted baked bread can be made everyday. The name however, caught on and it is still used. A traditional southerner biscuit is based largely on the british scone. It is a quick and easy way to create the ideal breakfast bread. I don’t think that at this point it really requires a lot of brains to add some sugar and sweeten things a little. From this point on the rest is history. A sweet southern history. So let’s get started. 

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So here are the ingredients of the southern delight:

Strawberries sugar: Turn your attention to the right of the photo

  • 1 lb of strawberries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A brandy of sort
  • 1/4 lb of sugar
  • Black pepper… What? Black pepper? Oh yeah! it is awesome!

Biscuits: Turn your attention to the right of the photo

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/4 tbs baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup of buttermilk

For the garnish and plating:

  • Creme fraiche
  • Whipped cream
  • Berries for garnish

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Start by washing the strawberries.

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Remove the stem with the little piece of hard stem in the core of the strawberry.

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And slice them.

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I use roughly 1/5 by weight of sugar. So here we have 500 g of strawberries (after subtracting the weight of the bowl)

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Cut and squeeze the lime juice.

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Add the brandy. Here as you can see I use AppleJack. It is a brandy made out of apples so the fruity flavors get well very well.

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Now add the sugar.

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Add the pepper… I am not joking! Pepper is very good with strawberries.

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And stir them well. Well but carefully. Put them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. The sugar will force liquid out of the strawberries slowly dissolve the sugar and become a nice syrup.

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While this is happening let’s make some biscuits. Start by sifting the flour.

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Why sift the flour? Fro this! Especially when you make a cake type of dough where we don’t really want to mix to much these lumps will never dissolve. It is important step. Please do not skip.

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Add the sugar.

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Add the baking powder.

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Follow with the soda…

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And mix the dry ingredients together.

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Measure the butter.

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Cut it in small pieces.

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And add it in the dry goods.

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With the tips of your fingers break it in small chunks. It will resemble rice.

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Add the buttermilk.

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Mix them until they just come together.

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Flour your bench or board.

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flip the dough and don’t worry if it is not perfect it will be like that.

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Use the dough roller, roll it to a thickness of one inch. 2.5 cm for the metric mind.

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With a cutter or a glass or anything that is about 2 inches wide punch out as many biscuits as you can.

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Like this. Gather there remaining dough and repeat.

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I usually get about 12. Like this. I know there is a runner up… I told you I “usually” make 12. Place them close to each other for more even rise. Also since they are butter made they will have a tendency to spread. Putting them close together will prevent them from spreading.

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Bake at 375F (190 C).

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Unitl they look GBD. Golden, Brown and Delicious.

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Cool them before serving. Serving with the strawberries!!!

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It is the perfect breakfast by the way.

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Before we start we need to whip the the heavy cream. Add ice cold heavy cream in your work bowl.

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Follow with some sugar.

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Add a bit of Vanilla.

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And whip. No need for mixer. You need a whisk and a little labor.

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In less than a minute you have whipped cream.

And now we BUILD!!!!

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Plate!

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Split biscuit in half. Yes a fork is better just like on an english muffin.

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Add some whipped cream on the plate to hold things together.

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Add the bottom part of the biscuit.

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put the strawberries and don’t forget the the syrup. It will soften the hardest biscuits.

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Top them with a bit of creme fraiché. Creme fraiché is think rich and a bit sour. It will just brink a little something to the party. Break the sweetness and brink things together.

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Top it of with the over part of the shortcake.

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More strawberries. Technically you can stop here, but I go one more layer.

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To hold it better I add some more creme fraiche.

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And more strawberries…. And syrup

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Garnish with the rest of the berries.

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If you have a pipping bag use it. I don’t I use the old school method with the two spoons. Move it from spoon to spoon until you shape it to what is called a canelli.

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Place it on the top of the pile. And garnish with a nice mind leave.

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There you have it!

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I know I know you need another shot? Here… You eat with your eyes first.

Oh and one more bonus. The strawberries will get a lot of juice out within a day… What to do with it? Mix it in a shaker with ice, some vanilla vodka and some lime juice. Aaaand…

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Here you have a pepper berry cocktail like nothing else!

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