Saturday, May 8, 2010
Strawberry season is in full swing. If you were at any of the local farmers markets I mentioned in my earlier post, you would find them in copious amounts. We have been getting tons from the North Hills farmers market and overdosing on them. We have been diligently heading the advice that its best to eat them fresh and on the same day as they are bought so very few make it to the day after! Its like eating a potato chip, you cannot stop at one. By the way, did you know that eating only one serving of strawberries (about 8) provides more Vitamin C than an orange?
After blending them into smoothies and eating quite a few in their natural state, I couldn't wait to cast them as the star ingredient in a dessert. At the same time though, I did want to maintain their natural flavor as much as possible. The solution? This strawberry short cake inspired by a recipe from Nigella Lawson's cookbook, How to be a domestic goodess: baking and the art of comfort food, which by the way, is a great book with lots of doable and delicious recipes. The strawberry shortcake picture in the cookbook really caught my eye, a flaky shortcake halved and stuffed with strawberries, topped with a dollop of cream. It looked so pretty that I had to give it a try and it was delicious! The original recipe called for whipping cream which I substituted with Greek yogurt for a healthier and lighter version. If you haven't used Greek yogurt before you must give it a try. Its basically a really thick version of regular yogurt which you can get if you hang it overnight to remove excess water. It is a great substitute for sour cream or heavy cream. Here I whisked it with some honey and vanilla extract to top the strawberries with. Trust me, the result was just as good and the heavy cream was not missed! For a more decadent version, vanilla ice-cream cream would work really well in place of the yogurt. If you like chocolate and berries together, drizzling some chocolate syrup would be a nice idea too. Either way do give this a try!
Note: The recipe below is my modified version from the original recipe from the cookbook. The original recipe called for unsalted butter and half teaspoon salt. I also used yogurt in place of light cream for the shortcakes and heavy cream for the topping.
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter, frozen (I used Smart Balance)
1 large egg
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt or plain yogurt hung overnight
For the filling:
1 and 1/2 cups strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
few drops of balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt or plain yogurt hung overnight
2 teaspoons honey
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and preheat the oven to 425F.
- Mix flour, salt (if using), baking powder and 4 tablespoons sugar in a bowl.
- Grate the butter into these dry ingredients and use your fingerprints to finish crumbling the butter into the flour.
- Whisk the egg into the yogurt and pour into the flour mixture while kneading into a dough. You may not need all the egg-yogurt mixture to make the dough come together so use cautiously.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll gently to a thickness of about 3/4 inch.
- Dip a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter into flour and cut out as many rounds as you can. Work the scraps back into a dough, re-roll and finish cutting out, you should get 8 in all.
- Place the shortcakes about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet, sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake for about 10-15 minutes or till they are golden brown.
- Let them cool on a wire rack for around 5-10 minutes.
- For the filing, crush half of the strawberries with the spoonful of sugar and the few drops of balsamic vinegar if using and halve or quarter the remaining strawberries depending on their size.
- Whisk the yogurt with vanilla extract and honey.
- To assemble the shortcakes, split each one across the middle and cover with a spoonful of the crushed strawberry mixture, a few halved or quartered strawberries, then dollop some yogurt or whipped cream on top and set the top back on.