Strawberry Shortcake

Everything you need for Strawberry Shortcake | www.dearmartini.wordpress.com

Shortcakes, berries and cream are all you need for a fabulous dessert!

Nothing indicates that Spring is finally here like the arrival of strawberries!  If you haven’t already made this classic all-American dessert yet, now’s your chance!

Let’s say you’re invited to a friend’s house for a weekend backyard party… and you want to contribute a dessert to the party but don’t know what to make? Herein lies your salvation. Bring strawberry shortcake! It’s everyone’s favorite! Bring the components with you in separate containers, and assemble just before serving.

There are only three components to this dessert: strawberries, whipped cream, and lightly sweetened biscuits. Follow our how-to videos to help you along with preparing each component. As always, we’ve created a portfolio of all relevant how-to videos on our Vimeo Channel: http://vimeopro.com/dearmartini/strawberry-shortcake. We hope this will earn its place in your arsenal of go-to dessert recipes!

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe | www.dearmartini.wordpress.com

Strawberry Shortcake

Serves 8 to 10

1 recipe shortcakes, recipe follows

INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

Bake the shortcakes according to recipe and set aside.  While the shortcakes are baking, prep the strawberries for macerating and whip the cream. Serve immediately.

If you are taking the shortcakes to an event, it’s best to assemble the dessert on site.  Macerate the strawberries and whip the cream immediately before serving.

To assemble for serving:

Slice the biscuits in half and warm them in an oven set to 250°F for 10 minutes (this step is optional, but the biscuits are awesome when they are warmed!)

Arrange the bottom half of a biscuit on a plate. Place a generous spoonful of the macerated strawberries and the resulting syrup on the biscuit. Spoon a generous dollop (or quenelle) of whipped cream over the strawberries. Top with the top half of the biscuit. Repeat with the remaining biscuits. Garnish with either threads of lemon zest or a fanned strawberry. Serve immediately.

Shortcakes

Makes 12 biscuits

* in this recipe, the base recipe for the biscuits is derived from our scone recipe. We like to make our own acidulated milk instead of using buttermilk from the store; so if you wish to use buttermilk, substitute ½ cup for the lemon juice and whole milk.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups plus ¼ cup all-purpose flour for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Mix the lemon juice and milk together and let it stand in the fridge for as long as it takes to prepare the rest of the recipe. If you are using ½ cup buttermilk for this recipe, eliminate this step. Cube the butter and keep in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the butter. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or break up the butter into the flour by rubbing the butter and flour together between your fingers. Do this very quickly and randomly. You should still have lumps of butter varying from small (pea-sized) to large (blueberry sized). Do not let the butter get soft. If it does, return the bowl to the fridge for a few minutes.

Combine the eggs and milk mixture together and add to the flour mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a shaggy, lumpy mass. It’s ok that it’s not smooth or uniformly mixed in. It’s ok to see random lumps of butter still not mixed in.

Transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface and gently, with floured hands, pat it down into a rough rectangle shape about 1-inch thick. Use a spatula and pick up one end of the dough and fold it over in half. Pick up the entire dough piece and turn it 45-degrees. Flour your hands and pat it down into another rectangle.  Repeat this patting, folding, turning method 4-5 more times. Keep flour dusted underneath the dough as you turn it.  For the last pat-down, make sure the rectangle is about 10-12 inches long and 6 inches wide. Transfer the dough to a sheet pan and cover. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to firm up the butter.

Use a 3 ½ -inch diameter biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter to cut the biscuits. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press the scraps together and pat and fold to recombine the dough. DO NOT KNEAD THE DOUGH TOGETHER. Continue cutting out biscuits and reforming the dough until they are all cut. Refrigerate the biscuits for about 30 minutes to firm up the butter.

Just before baking, lightly brush the egg wash over the tops of the biscuits and sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The biscuits will be firm to the touch. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool.

Macerated Strawberries:

INGREDIENTS:

DIRECTIONS:

Macerate the sliced strawberries in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let them sit for 15 minutes or keep covered in the fridge until ready to use. In our experience, strawberries taste best when they are cool, or at room temperature. We find that the chill from the refrigerator inhibits their flavor.

Crème Chantilly:

Makes 2 cups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

 Whip the cream with vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Set all components aside until you are ready to serve.

Strawberry Shortcake and Whole Berries | www.dearmartini.wordpress.com

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Strawberry Shortcake — the classic all-American summertime dessert!

Strawberry Shortcake!

We’re in the last stretch of summer and if you haven’t already made this classic all-American dessert yet, now’s your chance!

Let’s say you’re invited to a friend’s house for a weekend backyard barbecue… and you want to contribute a dessert to the party but don’t know what to make? Herein lies your salvation. Bring strawberry shortcake! It’s everyone’s favorite! Bring the components with you in separate containers, and assemble just before serving.

There are only three components to this dessert: strawberries, whipped cream, and lightly sweetened biscuits. Follow our how-to videos to help you along with preparing each component. As always, we’ve created a portfolio of all relevant how-to videos on our Vimeo Channel: http://vimeopro.com/dearmartini/strawberry-shortcake. We hope this will earn its place in your arsenal of go-to dessert recipes!

Strawberry Shortcake

Serves 8 to 10

1 recipe shortcakes, recipe follows

2 cups sliced strawberries, macerated

2 cups creme chantilly, recipe follows

Zest of one lemon, from a traditional zester for garnish, or

8-10 fanned strawberries

Bake the shortcakes according to recipe and set aside.  While the shortcakes are baking, prep the strawberries for macerating and whip the cream. Serve immediately.

If you are taking the shortcakes to an event, it’s best to assemble the dessert on site.  Macerate the strawberries and whip the cream immediately before serving.

To assemble for serving:

Slice the biscuits in half and warm them in an oven set to 250°F for 10 minutes (this step is optional, but the biscuits are awesome when they are warmed!)

Arrange the bottom half of a biscuit on a plate. Place a generous spoonful of the macerated strawberries and the resulting syrup on the biscuit. Spoon a generous dollop (or quenelle) of whipped cream over the strawberries. Top with the top half of the biscuit. Repeat with the remaining biscuits. Garnish with either threads of lemon zest or a fanned strawberry. Serve immediately.

Recipes:

Shortcakes

Makes 12 biscuits

* in this recipe, the base recipe for the biscuits is derived from our scone recipe. We like to make our own acidulated milk instead of using buttermilk from the store; so if you wish to use buttermilk, substitute ½ cup for the lemon juice and whole milk.

2 teaspoons lemon juice or cider vinegar

½ cup whole milk

1 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 cups plus ¼ cup all-purpose flour for dusting

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 egg, beaten for egg wash

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar)

 

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Mix the lemon juice and milk together and let it stand in the fridge for as long as it takes to prepare the rest of the recipe. If you are using ½ cup buttermilk for this recipe, eliminate this step. Cube the butter and keep in the freezer until you are ready to use them.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the butter. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or break up the butter into the flour by rubbing the butter and flour together between your fingers. Do this very quickly and randomly. You should still have lumps of butter varying from small (pea-sized) to large (blueberry sized). Do not let the butter get soft. If it does, return the bowl to the fridge for a few minutes.

Combine the eggs and milk mixture together and add to the flour mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a shaggy, lumpy mass. It’s ok that it’s not smooth or uniformly mixed in. It’s ok to see random lumps of butter still not mixed in.

Transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface and gently, with floured hands, pat it down into a rough rectangle shape about 1-inch thick. Use a spatula and pick up one end of the dough and fold it over in half. Pick up the entire dough piece and turn it 45-degrees. Flour your hands and pat it down into another rectangle.  Repeat this patting, folding, turning method 4-5 more times. Keep flour dusted underneath the dough as you turn it.  For the last pat-down, make sure the rectangle is about 10-12 inches long and 6 inches wide. Transfer the dough to a sheet pan and cover. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to firm up the butter.

Use a 3 ½ -inch diameter biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter to cut the biscuits. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Press the scraps together and pat and fold to recombine the dough. DO NOT KNEAD THE DOUGH TOGETHER. Continue cutting out biscuits and reforming the dough until they are all cut. Refrigerate the biscuits for about 30 minutes to firm up the butter.

Just before baking, lightly brush the egg wash over the tops of the biscuits and sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The biscuits will be firm to the touch. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool.

Macerated Strawberries:

1 pint strawberries, sliced

1 tablespoons sugar

Macerate the sliced strawberries in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let them sit for 15 minutes or keep covered in the fridge until ready to use. In our experience, strawberries taste best when they are cool, or at room temperature. We find that the chill from the refrigerator inhibits their flavor.

Crème Chantilly:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

 Whip the cream with vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. Set all components aside until you are ready to serve.

 Strawberry Shortcake recipe 500pxl

A Conversation about Crying and Stinking… Onions and Garlic, that is.

The following is an excerpt from a general-composite conversation we’ve had with a number of people over the years.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent.  Perhaps the dialogue has not been transcribed verbatim…but whatever.  You get the gist.

Q:            Hey there, DearMartini, what’s up with the Onion-crying thing and the Garlic-stinking thing?

DM:            Onions and garlic are the most aromatic tools in the culinary world.  They offer flavor and aroma in so many different ways – without them, our lives (and tastebuds) would be terribly bland and boring.

Q:              Why does chopping onions make us cry?

DM:            That’s perhaps the most common cooking-related question in the Culinary Universe — the mystery of how and why onions make us cry… and how can we avoid crying.

Chefs Mia and Terri have taught home cooks like you the basic knife skill techniques for years.  Each time, when we reach that point in class where we have to face the inevitable onion-dicing lesson, we are pelted with a barrage of questions from students.  “How can we stop from crying?”  “OMG, my eyes are burning!  What’s happening to me??”  “Does that method where we chop them under water actually work?”  One of the best answers we have to the most common question, “How do we keep from crying when we chop onions?” is “Get someone else to do it for you.”

OK. All joking aside, if you wear eye protection in the form of goggles, contact lenses or scuba masks, then you’re pretty much out of the woods.  The rest of us, however, have to suffer the intense burning and eye discomfort as we prep for dinner.

So, why do onions make us cry?  The answer is both simple, and complex.

The simple answer is, onions have a natural defense mechanism to keep predators from eating them:  there is a compound in them that releases gases and fumes into the air when their cell walls are broken, which react to the delicate membranes in our eyes and noses that cause the burning reaction.

For a more complex answer, we turn to our most honored and respected food scientist, Harold McGee, who wrote the definitive book on food science, On Food and Cooking, the Science and Lore of the Kitchen:

“The distinctive flavors of the onion family come from its defensive use of the element sulfur.  The growing plants take up sulfur from the soil and incorporate it into four different kinds of chemical ammunition, which float in the cell fluids while their enzyme trigger is held separately in a storage vacuole.  When the cell is damaged by chopping or chewing, the enzyme escapes and breaks the ammunition molecules in half to produce irritating, strong-smelling sulfurous molecules… One sulfur product is produced in significant quantities only in the onion, shallot, leek, chive and rakkyo:  the “lacrimator,” which causes our eyes to water.  This volatile chemical escapes from the damaged onion into the air, and lands in the onion cutter’s eyes and nose, where it apparently attacks nerve endings directly, then breaks down into hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and sulfuric acid.  A very effective molecular bomb!”

Q:            WOW.  TMI.  All we wanted to know is how do we REALLY keep from crying when we chop onions.

DM:            Well, if you really can’t handle wearing your swim goggles in the kitchen, we suggest a couple of things:

1)   Keep your onions as cold as possible – the cold temperature slows down the enzyme, buying you a few more seconds of time before waterworks begin;

2)   Keep your cuts to a minimum – be as efficient as you can with your chopping.  No mincing or mashing, please.  Remember, the more cell walls that are damaged, the more the enzymes have a chance to tango with the compounds;

3)   Keeping your knife as razor-sharp as possible is related to #2 – a super-sharp knife can cut through just enough cell walls that it needs to without mashing, tearing or bruising more (which is what a dull knife would do).

4)   If you have a lot of onions to chop at once, keep your kitchen well-ventilated or light a match over the fumes.

5)   And if all else fails, get someone else to chop the onions for you!

Q:             Ha.  Ha.  Very funny.  Can’t we just buy them pre-chopped?

DM:            Well, you could, but that won’t minimize the effects of crying.  The compounds and volatile fumes only get stronger when they sit for longer periods of time.

Q:            So is that why garlic stinks so badly on our hands after we chop it?

DM:            You could say that…

Q:            Do you have any tips on how to get the garlic smell off our hands?

DM:            Try rubbing your hands with a stainless steel spoon under running water, then washing your hands with soap and water.  The steel reacts to the garlic compounds on your fingers and neutralizes the odor.  It’s always worked for us.

Q:            What if I want to get rid of garlic breath?  Can I rub a spoon all over the inside of my mouth, too?

DM:            Nice try, but no.  Sorry.

GAME OF SCONES

When I take an interest in something, I get obsessed with it. In this case, it was finding the recipe for The Perfect Scone. For nearly 2 months, I made a batch of scones every single day. I tried every method out there to achieve the butteriest (yes, that’s a word), flakiest, most tender melt-in-your-mouth scones ever produced on the planet.

I learned the hard way that nothing can be perfect (though our Italian Meringue Buttercream gets pretty close but that’s another blog post, of course). What I’ve developed instead, over the years of trial and error in search for the perfect scone recipe is more a fool-proof method for achieving the best results possible. To be honest, food science plays a big part. Just understand the principles of heat (and cold) management, how butter behaves, what steam brings to the party and how the slightest hint of gluten formation can wreck the tender texture of the scone.

Follow my simple rules and you can’t go wrong. I promise. It doesn’t matter which recipe you use. Just change the method to follow these principles.

Chef Terri’s Principles for the Best Possible Scones:

1) Keep your ingredients, especially the butter, as cold as possible. This is counter-intuitive, I know, when all you’ve heard all your baking life is how all ingredients must be at room temperature for good baking results. Chilled butter, not softened, is best for scones.

2) Mix your scone dough by hand with a wooden spoon instead of using a mixer. A mixer can over-mix your dough and develop that evil gluten. OK, a food processor might work well to cut the butter, but mix the wet ingredients in by hand, please.

3) Soak your dried fruit (such as raisins, cranberries, cherries or blueberries) in hot water for a few minutes. Drain them just before you add them to the dough. The dried fruits will soak up any moisture they can, robbing your scone of its precious steam during the baking process. Alternatively, the heat of the oven could dry out the fruit even more — producing hard pellets, not soft, luscious flavorful fruit.

4) Don’t use a rolling pin. There is no knead for it. ;) Instead, gently use your palms to flatten the dough into one even layer. Lift up and fold it in half, then give it a quarter-turn and pat down again to flatten. Do this 4-6 more times. Your hard work will be rewarded. Our patting-folding-turning method is great to achieve multiple layers of butter and dough with very little toughness, rewarding you later with tender flakes when it’s baked.

5) Chill your dough between every stage — even before sliding the prepared scones in the oven. In fact, the best scones I ever made were frozen before they hit the hot oven. Remember, if the dough (and consequently, the butter) is warm and soft before it goes into the oven, the butter will melt quickly and not have a chance to leave behind the flaky layers we so desperately desire. If ever you feel as if your ingredients are getting warm at any time during the scone-making process, just return everything to the fridge for a few minutes to firm up the butter. You’ll be glad you did.

Remember, when working with our recipes on the blog, simply hit the blue hyperlinks to see the technique video associated with the recipe. It’s our way of guiding you through the recipe. Alternatively, you can view our Vimeo Portfolio, where all of the scone-related videos are bundled: http://vimeopro.com/dearmartini/scones

Cranberry-Orange Scones (Makes 24 scones)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 cups plus ¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest of one orange

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup cold heavy cream

1 egg, beaten for egg wash

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (or regular sugar) (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Soak the cranberries hot water for 10 minutes, or at least as long as it takes to prepare the rest of the recipe. Drain and set aside.

Cut up the butter sticks and keep in the freezer until you are ready to use them. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest with a wooden spoon.

Add the butter. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or by rubbing the butter and flour together between your fingers. Do this very quickly and randomly. You should still have lumps of butter varying from small (pea-sized) to large (blueberry sized). Do not let the butter get soft. If it does, return the bowl to the fridge for a few minutes.

Combine the eggs and heavy cream together and add to the flour mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a shaggy, lumpy mass. It’s ok that it’s not smooth or uniformly mixed in. It’s ok to see random lumps of butter still not mixed in. Drain the cranberries and add them and the remaining cup of flour to the dough. Mix gently until the cranberries are distributed evenly in the dough.

Transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface and gently, with floured hands, pat it down into a rough rectangle shape about 1-inch thick. Use a spatula and pick up one end of the dough and fold it over in half. Pick up the entire dough piece and turn it 45-degrees. Flour your hands and pat it down into another rectangle. Pick up one end and fold it over, then pick up the entire dough piece and turn it 45-degrees again. Repeat this patting, folding, turning method 4 more times. Keep flour dusted underneath the dough as you turn it.

For the last pat-down, make sure the rectangle is about 10-12 inches long and 6 inches wide. Use a sharp knife and cut three strips of dough, each strip being about 2 inches wide and 10- 12 inches long. Cut each strip into 8 triangular pieces and lay each piece on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil. You can fit 12 pieces on one tray, and prepare another tray for the remaining 12. Refrigerate the scones for about 30 minutes to firm up the butter.

Just before baking, lightly brush the egg wash over the tops of the scones and sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool.

WELL, THAT WAS AWKWARD…

Darlings, we’re all human. No one is perfect. Oh, and haste makes a huge pain in the ass.

It is with great humility that I inform you that last night, as I was in a rush to prepare dinner for myself, I experienced a most inconvenient kitchen accident.

20120225-104626.jpg

What you see here is a triple-bandaided left index finger, minus its fingernail. In fact, it’s hard to type this.

But I thought you all should know — even professional chefs make mistakes and cut themselves. Though we should most definitely heed our own advice, sometimes our own digits get in the way of the knife. Even Chef Ramsay isn’t immune from such tragedy.

In fact, what happened in that video was exactly what I did last night. Except, no Ellen, no audience, no vegan stir fry (gorgeous recipe, by the way) no TV cameras (thankfully). I admire how he just kept on cooking…

Expect an in-depth how-to video on proper knife skills in the near future.

;

Postscript:
Two days later, the throbbing is still there… Any guesses as to how long it’ll take to grow back??

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