Monday, June 9, 2014

rye strawberry shortcakes.

Not long ago I read an article about a woman who when growing up was allowed to eat strawberry shortcake for dinner the day the first strawberries appeared in their backyard.  Something about that struck a cord with me because strawberry shortcake always feels like such a nostalgia inducing food (not to mention I can always get behind any excuse to eat dessert for dinner). It's homey. The kind of thing grandmothers would make their grandchildren.  The kind of thing that makes you look forward to warm weather, open windows, and cut-off shorts.

I took inspiration from this story and decided to whip up my own batch of shortcakes to celebrate our first three quarts of strawberries (yes three!).  This shortcake recipe is a little more substantial then most due to the addition of rye flour which makes it perfectly appropriate for dinner.  The addition of perfectly ripe strawberries and barely sweetened whipped cream ensures this dinner is magical.  

Rye Strawberry Shortcakes
Shortcake recipe from Food 52

The only change I made was to drop heaping rounds of dough onto the baking sheet instead of rolling and cutting them out because sometimes laziness wins.  This can be halved if necessary (but why would you do such a foolish thing). 

Makes 8

For the Shortcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup buttermilk, chilled
2 tablespoons crunchy sugar (such as turbinado), for sprinkling
Heavy cream to brush the tops of the shortcakes 

Preheat oven to 400ยบ F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender (or two knives) until it is the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the ingredients, then add in the buttermilk and heavy cream. Stir gently until just combined. It is okay if there are a few dry spots. If it seems very dry, add more heavy cream or buttermilk, one tablespoon at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a square about 1 inch thick. Fold the dough in half over itself and pat it into a square about 1 inch thick. Repeat this process one more time. Then, use a floured 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut the dough. Place the cut shortcakes onto the prepared baking sheet. Gently re-roll scraps and cut again. Put the whole baking sheet into the freezer for 10 minutes.

Brush the tops of the shortcakes with heavy cream and sprinkle with crunchy sugar. Bake until the tops are browned and the shortcakes are cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

For Serving

2 pounds of strawberries, halved or quartered (about 7 cups)
3 tablespoons sugar + 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or 5 tablespoons sugar if you want to omit the maple syrup)
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons maple syrup in a large bowl (or 4 tablespoons sugar if only using sugar).  Toss to coat.  Let stand until a syrup begins to form, about an hour. This can be done ahead by 24 hours, just keep the berries in the fridge. 

Beat chilled whipping cream, vanilla extract and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another large bowl until stiff peaks form. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover separately and chill.)

Cut rye biscuits in half. Place each biscuit bottom in shallow bowl (or on a plate). Top each generously with strawberries and whipped cream. Cover fruit and cream with biscuit tops. Eat immediately.  

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