Sunday, May 28, 2006

Strawberries, Strawberries, Strawberries!

What do you love about Memorial Day weekend? Is it the burgers, the dogs? Or is it the sweet succulent first strawberries of the year?

Well, I admit those first burgers of the year are pretty near my favorite thing ever! But...I do have to confess that I don't feel quite complete at the end of the BBQ without some strawberries and cream , or maybe strawberries and icecream or better still Strawberry Shortcake! That's it! Fluffy sweet biscuits, heaps of strawberries and billowy clouds of chantilly cream. Now there's a perfect finish to any great BBQ.

Preheat oven to 450

Sweet Biscuits
2 Cups Self Rising Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 oz Butter
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Water

Mix flour, salt and sugar in a medium sized bowl, rub butter in with fingers until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. There shouldn't be any chunks of butter visable. Make a well in the center.

Combine milk and water and pour into flour well. Mix lightly to combine. Dump onto lightly floured surface and kneed until it comes together - DON'T over work it! Pat into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Either cut with 2 inch cookie cutter or VERY sharp knife into wedges. Either way you should have 12 biscuits. Lightly brush top with milk (or melted butter).

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches part. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Cool completely on a rack.

Strawberries and Sauce

1 Quart Fresh Strawberries (this doesn't work well with frozen)
1 Large Navel Orange
1-2 Tablespoons Sugar (or 1 Tablespoon Splenda)

Rinse and hull strawberries. Cut in half - quarters for larger berries, and place in a large glass bowl. You need to cut them at least in half to get the juices to flow. Sprinkle sugar over the berries. If you like your berries sweet use both tablespoons. You can omit the sugar all together if you think your berries are sweet enough. Juice the orange over the berries. Don't worry if it seems a little dry - the berries will give up their juice as they sit. Refrigerate for a few hours.

The good thing about this recipe is that the acid in the orange juice will keep your berries firm and red for quite a while, not gray and mushy as with water. When you choose your orange be sure that the orange you choose seems heavy for its size. That will mean that it is full of juice!

Chantilly Cream

1 Pint Heavy Cream (very cold)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Cointreau

In a very cold, but not frosted, bowl beat the cream until beaters leave trails. Add sugar, vanilla and cointreau (if using) continue beating until soft peaks. If the mixture starts looking clotty STOP, you are on your way to butter! You want you cream to be a little loose, not stiff and dry.

Assemble your short cake how ever you like - I split the biscuit and top with berries, cream then the other half. More berries more cream!!! Yum!

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