Wednesday, June 19, 2013

make it yourself: strawberry shortcake

It's berry season in western Pennsylvania, and I've made no secret of my abiding love for strawberries. My grandparents live in northwestern Pa. and they have grown berries every year since I can remember. Some years aren't so great - late frost took them all last year. But this year. Finally. Berries galore. Mark was helping my grandpa with some work around the house Saturday and came home with a quart of fresh picked berries, straight out of their garden. And you know what that means. It's shortcake time.

My grandma has also made this shortcake as long as I can remember, and it's everyone's favorite dessert. We even have a running joke in the family that you're only a true member if you eat your shortcake with just strawberries. The outsiders always want to add some sort of cream or cool whip monstrosity to it. 

This recipe is different from your standard strawberry shortcake because it bears no resemblance to a cake, angel food or otherwise. It's more like a cross between a biscuit and a shortbread. 

Start by using a pastry tool to cut some shortening into flour. (I usually don't like to bake with vegetable shortening, but I make an exception for shortcake.)

 After a bit, it will start to get clumpy, like this.

Make a leavening mixture.

To that, some buttermilk. 

Here comes the fun part. Just mash it all together and plop it on a tray. It's really that simple.

Prep your strawberries. Put them in a cringe-worthy bright pink bowl.

Mash them like potatoes and add any sugar. Go easy though - ripe summer berries are already quite sweet.

Once it's baked, cut it into chunks. Put it in a bowl like a normal person (left) or in a giant bowl of whipped cream like a crazy person (right). You can guess which one was mine.

Top with berries while the shortcake is hot. This is dinner and dessert wrapped up in one. I've made this for a lot of people over the years and not once has anyone had anything but praise for it. It's truly one of those magical desserts that pleases every crowd.

Email me at nextgenhouse at gmail dot com or send me a DM on Twitter if you'd like the recipe!

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