A few years ago, an email circulated among my friends asking us to pick our favourite dessert from one of 10 choices. The point was to find out what kind of personality we had based on our dessert preferences. A simple bit of fluff, but I did find the results telling. Not one of my friends chose the actual best dessert in the world, despite its presence on that list of 10 dessert choices. This told me less about my friends’ personalities and more about the sad lack of real homemade strawberry shortcake in this world.
I’ve seen a lot of soggy sponge cake and flavourless sickly sweet berries desecrating the name of strawberry shortcake. Honestly. It’s probable that my friends had never had a great strawberry shortcake, one made with a homemade buttery biscuit and freshly picked sweet local berries. The inspired flavour combination of luscious cream, ripe berries and toasty biscuit is an absolute dream match, right up there with tomatoes and basil, or garlic and butter, or steak and black pepper.
So, I hope to change all this by example. I want to wow and excite everyone with this simple yet spectacular dessert. I plan to make and eat strawberry shortcake as long as the local strawberry season lasts. I will have friends over to share. I will make some raspberry and blueberry and peach variations while I am at it. And I am about to post my recipe for super specatular extra-yummy homemade strawberry shortcake. Now is the season! Seize and enjoy!
FRESH STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE
Makes 8 to 12 servings
This simple and delicious summer dessert is made in three parts and assembled at the last minute to maintain freshness. The individual parts can be made in advance.
210 g (1½ cups) all-purpose flour
70 g (½ cup) whole wheat flour
2.5 ml (½ tsp) salt
10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
1 ml (¼ tsp) baking soda
75 ml (5 Tb) sugar, divided
114 g (½ cup) cold butter
250 ml (1 cup) plain yogurt
1.5 to 2 litres (6 to 8 cups) fresh local strawberries (if you can, go out to Oldfield Orchard and pick some of the lovely Rainier Strawberries they have)
150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar, or more, to taste
500 ml (2 cups) whipping cream, chilled
15 to 45 ml (1 to 3 Tb) granulated sugar – optional
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract – optional
Cut each biscuit in half crosswise. Place each bottom on an individual small plate.
Spoon a generous portion of berries with their sweet juice onto each bottom.
Next, dollop on some whipped cream over the strawberries on the bottom biscuit. Top with biscuit tops, and decorate each top with a little dollop of whipped cream and one berry. Serve immediately. And enjoy!