The Handyman and I always disagree as to what we should put our strawberries on for strawberry shortcake.
I grew up with those store-bought pre-made sponge cakes. It was the only thing I knew, but I always knew they weren't my favorite...but that didn't stop me from eating my shortcake. ~smiles~ I ate lots of it. It's one of my favorite springtime desserts. It feels very "Eastery" to me.
Nowadays, I like a homemade scone, which is much heartier than those individual pre-made supermarket sponge cakes.
The Handyman grew up with his mom using angel food cake as the shortcakes, and that is what he loves to have his shortcake on.
People use shortcakes, scones, pound cake, angel food, sponge cakes.... what is your favorite? (or could it be just fresh strawberries over vanilla ice-cream? Yum!)
While trying to keep up with my Cookbook Countdown, I came across this recipe for "The One and Only Authentic Southern Strawberry Shortcake", in the cookbook "My Mother's Southern Desserts" by James Villas, and thought I'd give it a try.
WOW...I'm glad I did. These are the "perfect" shortcakes and the interesting thing is, the recipe says to butter them and spoon the strawberries over them while they are still warm. It sounded weird to me, but it was THE BEST.
Villas says this of his mother's strawberry shortcake:
Don't even start Mother talking about really Southern strawberry shortcake unless you're prepared for a heated two-hour discourse. Briefly, she abhors those little, overly sweet commercial sponge cakes used to make most shortcakes; she insists that the split biscuits (broken apart, not sliced) be buttered while still hot to add depth to the overall flavor; she cringes at just the mention of Cool Whip being substituted for fresh whipped cream; and the dessert must be served warm. Strawberry shortcake is sacred to Mother, and it continues to be the highlight of every July Fourth celebration we throw at her house or mine.
I must say.... his mother is right! Even the Handyman said they were great. I don't know what the warm melted butter does, but it's wonderful.
You'll have to see for yourself.
The One and Only Authentic Southern Strawberry Shortcake
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cups half-and-half
Butter for spreading
4 cups fresh, ripe-strawberries, rinsed, hulled, sliced in half and sugared to taste.
1 cup heavy cream whipped to stiff peaks and sweetened (if desired)
Pre-heat the oven to 450degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
Add the butter and using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the mixture till crumbly. In a small bowl, combine the egg and half-and-half and mix till well blended, then add to the flour mixture and stir until the mixture is thoroughly moist. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knead very briefly. With your hands, pat out the dough to about a 1/2 inch thickness, then, using a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 6 biscuits. Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and bake on the upper rack of the oven till slightly brown on top, about 10 minutes.
While they are still hot, split open the biscuits, spread lightly with butter and arrange close together on a crystal cake plate*. Spoon the berries and cream onto the biscuits and serve while still warm.
*I just individually plated each dessert.
I am going to use this recipe for both my cookbook countdown and Weekend Cooking, which is hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads.
Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend