Monday, April 28, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake...or a Parfait Please!

YAY...strawberries are here!  There is nothing better than biting into a fresh, juicy, organic strawberry...except for maybe strawberry shortcake!  Strawberries are just perfect on their own this time of year, but strawberry shortcake screams the start of summer and it's supposed to be 90 here this week!  The strawberries are definitely the main attraction, but the supporting cast is just as important.  I adapted a recipe from Cook's Illustrated by using flaxmeal for the binder, cashew milk, and added fresh lemon zest (totally makes a big difference) and vanilla extract.  If I would of had a fresh vanilla bean, I would of scrapped some of the seeds into the batter...that would of just taken the recipe over the top!

Even though the shortcakes did not rise as high as I wanted, they were still delicious with a crunchy exterior and a moist and fluffy interior--and oh the lemon zest was divine!  I had thought about using Energ Egg Replacer, but feel that this is best used when making cookies or crispier baked goods.  The flaxmeal provided the perfect moisture to the cakes and I loved the little flecks of flax throughout...not to mention the added bonus of Omega 3s!  And of course if they don't rise as high as you like...then just make a parfait and your family or guests will think they've gone to strawberry heaven!

While making the dough, I experimented with using a food processor or using the hand method and both biscuits came out the same.  So if you have a food processor then by all means use it but just make sure that you pulse the ingredients instead of letting the machine run.  I also baked some of the biscuits off right after forming and also let several rest in the fridge for 30 minutes until they were chilled and both turned out the same as well.  My next experiment will be making these gluten-free using Bob's Red Mill A/P flour and adjusting the recipe accordingly.  Also in order to get more height on the biscuit I might try dropping the dough from a spoon onto a sheet pan instead of cutting them out with a cookie cutter.  If I do this then I will need to add more liquid to the dough and turn it into a thick batter.  This however, might change the texture and the texture was perfect.  Stay tuned...

This recipe makes about six-eight biscuits using a 2-3/4 cookie cutter.  For the strawberries I just purchased two pounds (organic) and reserved several strawberries aside for the top, and then divided up the rest by slicing some and dicing and mashing the others in separate bowls.  I then added some sugar to each bowl, about 2 TBSP each and then let the fruit macerate for about 30 minutes to release the juices and to soften.   Depending on how sweet your strawberries are you may need to add less or more sugar...taste them first!  For the whipped cream I used SOYATOO! Whipped Rice Topping.

Shortcake Dough Recipe:

2 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour
5 TBSP organic unbleached cane sugar (3 for the dough, 2 for the topping)
1 TBSP aluminum free baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 TBSP Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (cut into 16 pieces and chilled)
1 Flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax meal and 3 TBSP warm filtered water, whisked)
1/2 cup cashew milk (1/4 cup soaked cashews, drained and blended with 1/2 cup filtered water), or you can use any dairy free milk product.
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp organic lemon zest


  • Preheat oven to 425 and position rack in the middle of the oven.
  • In a bowl whisk together flour, 3 TBSP cane sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Using a pastry cutter add chilled butter and cut through the flour until the butter is the size of peas.
  • In a measuring cup whisk together milk, flax egg, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  • Create a well in the flour mixture and add wet ingredients.  Using a large fork mix ingredients until just combined and then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat ingredients into a 9x6 rectangle, 3/4" thick.  
  • Cut six biscuits out of the dough and reform scraps and cut an additional two biscuits.
  • Place biscuits on a sheet tray covered with parchment paper and brush the tops with cashew milk and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  • Bake in the oven until the tops are golden brown about 12-14 minutes, turning half way through.
  • Remove from the oven and transfer biscuits to a cooling rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting. 
My husband told me that I definitely have to stop baking sweets--he's trying to cut back on it looks like something gluten-free and most likely sweet is in my near future!  Hope you enjoy!   

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