Garden Fresh Organic StrawberriesStrawberry harvest is in full swing, and as the bounty reaches epic proportions in my garden, I am always looking for new recipes that do not ruin the naturally sweet flavor of the fruit. Mostly, we snack on strawberries straight from the plants, but occasionally I am motivated to make a delectable dessert to savor. Old fashioned, organic strawberry shortcake has become an early summer favorite in my family!
One of my earliest childhood summer memories is of strawberry shortcake; however, it was always made with spongy, store-bought shortcake. I never much cared for the soft, fluffy shortcake, but I thoroughly enjoyed the strawberries and cream. When I made the shift to organic eating and later wanted to provide my children with the same strawberry summer pleasure, I could not find an organic readymade shortcake in the local coop. In my searches for a recipe, I discovered that traditional strawberry shortcake is not made with an airy cake but sweet biscuits. The first time I tried strawberry shortcake made with biscuits, the taste reminded me of a time when people milked their own cows and had small family farms. I felt like I was sitting in a midwestern farm house eating a treat made by my great grandmother.
This recipe, modified from Simply Recipes, is far from vegan, as the rich cream and buttery biscuits complement this summer fruit. To make this recipe organic, use all organically grown, natural ingredients, especially the strawberries and dairy products. Strawberries receive the most pesticides of any crop grown in America, and 90% of commercially grown strawberries test above safe levels of pesticide contamination. In addition, pesticides are concentrated in dairy products, as well as growth hormones and antibiotics.
Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake
Shortcake Biscuits (click here for gluten free):
2 1/2 cups of unbleached white flour (can substitute 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of other grains and seeds, such as oats, flax seeds, bran, etc.)
1/2 cup wheat flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar (can use Sucanat, Rapudura, etc.)
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder (aluminum free)
3/4 tsp sea salt
12 Tbsp cold butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or soymilk)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Into a large bowl, sift and stir the flour, salt, and baking powder. Using a pastry cutter, knife, or fork, cut the cold butter into pea size pieces into the dry mixture. Make a well in the center and pour in the cream. Stir until the dough is just combined, as the dough should be mixed but remain bumpy. Knead the dough five or six times in the bowl. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to about 3/4 inch thick and 8 inches square. Transfer the dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Depending on how many people you want to serve or how large you want your biscuits, cut the dough into 9 or 16 squares (I prefer the smaller biscuits). Place the squares about 2 inches apart from one anther on the parchment lined cookie tray (you may need another tray), bake fro 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
Macerated StrawberriesStrawberries and Whipping Cream:
3-5 baskets fresh strawberries
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (depending on sweetness of strawberries)
Thinly slice strawberries and place in a bowl with sugar. The sugar will macerate the berries by softening them and releaSummer Sweet Strawberriessing the juice. Let the strawberries and sugar sit for 20 minutes at room temperature. Whip the cream by adding vanilla and a dash of sugar and shaking vigorously in a jar, stirring rapidly, or using a blender.
To serve, place a biscuit in a bowl or plate, add the macerated strawberries, then top with fresh whipping cream. I prefer a lot of strawberries in proportion to the whipping cream and biscuit. Strawberries are rich in iron, vitamin C, folic acid, fiber, potassium, and cancer fighting antioxidants, and I don't want to miss a delicious bite. Old fashioned organic strawberry shortcake is very rich, fulfilling, and satisfying. Close your eyes, take a bite, and imagine a simpler life.