Strawberry Shortcake – Show Stopper

strawberry shortcake

I just have to share this strawberry shortcake recipe with you.  We had it on Father’s Day, gluten free shortcake of course.  I am not sure where I got the shortcake recipe; maybe my old Bette Hagman Gourmet Cookbook. It was a big hit with everyone just like in past years.  I used to make it a lot when I could still use all purpose flour but my new gf biscuit version is pretty tasty I have to say. But there is one thing, you gotta make it with the best freaking strawberries you can find.  None of those firm ones with whitish cores that are shipped in from far away.  You need juicy ripe scented local red berries that can be chopped coarsely and mixed with sugar and served over shortbread.  Gluten free short bread.  Yes, it can be done and it will taste fantastic!

My mom always made a gorgeous version of strawberry shortcake. When I was a kid she would serve it as an entire meal.  I have done that and it is kinda cool.  I generally made a huge oval biscuit with a smaller topping biscuit that I split off and buttered the split area before topping with berries and the smaller biscuit.  And more ripe berries.  Then a topping of softly whipped heavy cream.  Oh berry perfection.! Now I do it in two separate pans but the construction of the final dessert product is the same otherwise.

I cannot stress enough the importance of the best ripest berries.  I got some ripe ones from Lehigh Valley Produce on Main Street in Hellertown.  They told me the berries came from Lancaster; Amish country and were not sprayed; smaller and darker than grocery store berries but I must say that the flavor was very good; authentic and so juicy.  Perfect for this dessert.  Their price per quart was pretty good especially considering the superior quality of their berries.  This is not a recipe to make in the fall or winter, it depends on the seasonal ripe local berries for the best flavor.  There is nothing much to this but berries and the shortbread biscuit so you darn well better use great fruit or you will not get a good result.

I forgot to take pictures making the shortcake and forgot my camera; my daughter took pictures while I put it together at my mom’s assisted living room so forgive the slightly less than professional look of some of them.

shortcake, one serving

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Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake, G-F 2.0

Biscuit dough

1 cup white rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. xanthan gum

6 tbsp cold butter

1 medium egg

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 tsp. sugar (optional)

2 tsp. soft butter

Other ingredients:

2 quarts ripe strawberries

½ cup sugar

2-3 tbsp. Karo light syrup

1 cup heavy whipping cream

½ tsp. real vanilla

2-4 tbs. powdered sugar (if you like your cream sweet)

Directions
Heat oven t0 400 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter until it is small pebbles.  Add the egg and most of the buttermilk.  Mix with a spoon; add rest of buttermilk if you need it.  It should be a bit sticky, don’t over mix; just until dry is blended in.  Spray the inside of a nine inch cake pan and a 6 inch cake pan with cooking spray.  If you don’t have a small pan just use two 9 inch ones.  Pat ¾ of the dough into the 9 inch; make it about ¾ to 1 inch thick and try to smooth the top and side edges a bit.  Put the rest of the dough in the smaller pan and do the same smoothing.  Make that one ½ to ¾ inch thick.  Optional: take a tablespoon of granulated sugar and sprinkle it over top of them. Bake them about 20 to 25 min; the smaller one should be done in 20 minutes; a golden light brown. Set on a cooling rack for a few minutes.

While it bakes, get the berries ready.  Hull 2 quarts of fresh ripe berries.  Place them in a glass mixing bowl, chop through them a few strokes with a sharp knife.  Add ½ cup sugar and about 2-3 tbsp. Karo light corn syrup to the berries.  Stir well and refrigerate until the shortcake is baked.  You could do this berry preparation up to two hours in advance.  No more or they will start to disintegrate.

Place the fairly hot bigger layer on a large platter, one big enough to hold the shortbread and still have room for a generous overflow of strawberries. Butter lightly.  Top with several big spoonfuls of berries.  Don’t worry if there is juice in the berry bowl; should be; melted down sugar and Karo syrup with berry juice will give you a berry liquid.  Top with the second smaller biscuit and then more berries.   Cut into chunks.  Top with freshly whipped cream; beat a cup of heavy whipping cream until it is softly whipped.  Add ½ tsp. vanilla and ¼ cup sugar if you wish it sweet.  Be sure to pour the berry juice over your shortcake; it soaks in and adds to the strawberry experience.  My dad liked to pour unbeaten cream over his shortcake. My mom usually set out the whipped cream, a jug of cream and some whole milk so you could chose how to finish off your personal shortcake.  I might add that I grew up on a farm so this was raw milk from grass pastured cows; fantastic cream equaling a freaking perfect shortcake topper.  We also grew our own berries; no chemical sprayed on them ever.

shortcake, one serving

If there is any left over it makes a great breakfast the next morning!

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Smoothie Time!

This is September 1, Labor Day, the start of fall. But it is hot, humid, and just plain sticky.  Sure, you are going to celebrate with a bbq or party. But while you get everything ready you will likely get a tad warm. This is a great day for a refreshing smoothie; go back to my July 11th post and whip up a blender full to quench your thirst and keep you going strong!

Here is the post: smoothiehttps://myworldwithoutwheat.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/pineapple-banana-smoothie-let-me-count-the-ways-i-love-you/

Change it up; instead of bananas; put peaches or nectarines in there, throw in some strawberries or blueberries. Cold, thirst quenching and healthy for sure.  Go for it!

Strawberry Basil Yogurt, a Great Snack

Greek yogurt is the new power dairy snack, favored by teachers, moms, office workers and many others seeking a portable tasty yet healthy snack.  I eat it too.  But sometimes I want a more basic, yet above average, yogurt.  My secret for great yogurt is one brand; Stonyfield Organic.  I buy the large 32 ounce container.  I usually get the plain, one percent low fat yogurt.  Organic milk makes creamy flavorful yogurt, far superior to any made with non-organic milk.  Occasionally I treat myself to Stonyfield’s whole milk yogurt. This is thick, creamy and oh so delicious.  The top layer is like cream yogurt; crazy yummy!  I eat a dish of this yogurt with fresh jam, all that jam that I don’t eat on toast anymore.  I know, whole milk! But sometimes you have to enjoy the best that life can give you and frankly experts say that non-fat yogurt is less healthy than yogurt with some fat.  Go on, live wild and try this fabulous organic yogurt.

Update; 11/21/14: a new article about the dangers of highly sweetened and additive filled yogurts specifically says the best choices are organic whole milk yogurts: http://www.cornucopia.org/yogurt.  I was right on the money with my recommendation of Stonyfields yogurt and my use of homemade jams and granola to flavor it up.  Much better for you and your kids!  Tastier too actually.

strawberry and stonyfield yogurt

You can also enjoy this yogurt with honey drizzled on top.  Sprinkled with my homemade granola it is very healthy, filling, and delightful tasting.

Late this past June I made some strawberry basil jam.  The other day I got the excellent idea to put it on top of my organic yogurt.  It was amazing tasting, the creamy mild yogurt stirred together with that fragrant fruity jam. Oh my goodness, a whole world away from commercially flavored fruit yogurts.

yogurt and strawberry basil jam

So here is my strawberry basil freezer jam recipe.  My friend Josh had purchased some and raved about the flavor.  I decided to make my own.  Well, it is great on toast and extremely yummy on your yogurt! It is not too much basil flavor, the strawberry predominates but you do get a taste of it when ever you encounter a bit of basil leaf.  I actually only made half a jam recipe as that was all the strawberries I had available that day.  I used the liquid Surejell, half the package.

strawberry basil jam 1

Strawberry Basil Freezer Jam 

yield: 5 cups

INGREDIENTS:

about 1 pound of fresh ripe strawberries (2 cups crushed strawberries)

4 cups granulated sugar

one 1.75 ounce package of fruit pectin (I used liquid Sure Jell)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves, really fine!

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, mash strawberries using a potato masher. Measure out two cups and return to bowl. If there are extras, you can eat those. But you want to pretty exact with this recipe.

To the 2 cups of mashed strawberries, stir in 4 cups of granulated sugar. Mix well to combine and moisten all the sugar and then let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine fruit pectin and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly. When it boils, set a timer for one minute. Continue to stir constantly and then remove from heat when it has boiled for one minute.

Stir pectin and water mixture into the fruit and sugar mixture. Stir constantly for about 3-4 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is no longer grainy.

Pour mixture into freezer containers with tight fitting lids (jars work great). Let jam stand at room temperature for 8 hours before moving to the fridge or freezer. If you freeze it, thaw it in the fridge when you’re ready to use.

Strawberry Tartlets to Tempt Romance!

Yes, it is the end of July but juicy ripe strawberries can be found in the supermarket and some produce stands like Lehigh Valley Produce on Main Street in Hellertown even now! I saw baskets of fresh berries earlier today at LV Produce.

This is a sweet and romantic dessert; two could share one deep dish tartlet! If you weren’t piggish that is….  Maybe everyone needs their own tartlet.  Totally your call. But do try to make these as they are not difficult and strawberries are very healthy and delicious even in August!

Angie’s GF Strawberry Glace Tartlets

Makes 4-6 tartlets; lesser number if deep dish ones and more if the flat bottom style that hold less berries.

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 4 inch metal tart pans or 4 inch mini deep dish pie pans with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour. Set aside.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.    tart shells ready to bake

Cut it into 4 balls and roll out each ball into a small pie crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in mini pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Do again until you have 4 shells and use all the crumb leftovers to make a fifth tartlet crust.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-13 minutes until the crusts are light brown.  Cool at least 30 minutes before filling.

Glaze:

1 cup mashed very ripe strawberries (I sort through the berries and use the riper ones for this part.)

2/3-3/4 cup sugar

3 tbsp cornstarch

½ cup water

 Directions:

Mix sugar and cornstarch in 1 qt heavy bottomed sauce pan, stir in water and mashed strawberries.  Cook on medium heat until it boils, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir one minute.  Let cool at least 20-30 minutes or until close to room temperature.

Filling:

4 ounces of light cream cheese, room temperature

4-5 cups fresh strawberries, hulled

Line the bottom of the cooled tart shells with the cream cheese, spread it as evenly as possible. I use half of an 8 ounce package.  Place berries in a big bowl.  Pour the glaze over top and gently mix.  Pour the goopy berries into the mini pie shells.  I like to pick one really nice one for the top of each tartlet.  strawberry tartlets

Chill 1-2 hours before serving.  Make some real whipped cream, the fake stuff will not be right; 1 cup heavy cream whipped with an electric mixer or a whisk until soft peaks, I like to chill the bowl and beaters a few minutes as it helps the cream whip faster.  Then add 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar and ½ to 1 tsp. vanilla.  Beat just a bit longer, until nearly stiff peaks.  Top each tartlet with the whipped cream.

Dive in, one deep dish tartlet is a substantial dessert.  If you make them in a flat bottomed round tartlet it will make more tartlets; less berries are needed to fill it.  I have a pair of those sort of pans; each pan makes 4 tartlets.  They would be a good alternative to the deep dish tartlet pan.

Either way this is a yummy dessert to share with someone you love.

Brown Rice Flour Mix– for crust
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour