By Lee Lowry
I hate sticky dough. The idea of touching sticky dough keeps me from making bread, biscuits, scones… pretty much anything that requires me to put my hands in it, knead it, and/or roll out the mass of goop. I love the results, though. I will never be a candidate for the Atkins Diet, just the idea of no bread, bagels or other delicious carbs keeps me finding other ways to drop pounds. So when the list went out with the latest recipes that the JLT Cookbook Committee wanted us to blog about, I decided to be brave and take on the Strawberry Shortcake with Sweet Cream Biscuits from Capture the Coast.
We were having friends over for dinner on a Friday in late January, and I thought this would be the ideal time to give the recipe a try. Strawberries were on sale and very inexpensive which is always a good sign with produce. Florida strawberry season had arrived! The berries were beautiful and red, and extremely fragrant. I had no problem getting them macerated and creating their own juice. Next: the biscuits. Yes, the dough was gummy. Yes, half of it stayed on my hands and the rolling pin after I flattened and rolled it out. But it was very easy to get it to come together, no mixer needed. I just stirred together the first few dry ingredients, then slowly added heavy cream.
I cut the biscuits, put them on parchment and in to bake and started the balsamic reduction. Reductions like this are really miraculous. Just a few tablespoons of sugar and a few of balsamic vinegar create a flavor so intense and a consistency so syrupy, just a drizzle adds so much. I stacked a biscuit, berries, and a drizzle of vinegar with some fresh whipped cream to top it all off. Gorgeous and tasty! Guests, adults and kids alike, enjoyed it very much. I will take this kind of strawberry shortcake over the spongy crater-shaped kind any day. The sweetness of the berries is set off so beautifully by the doughy, fluffy biscuit… it was worth the gooey hands.
Strawberry Shortcake with Sweet Cream Biscuits (Capture the Coast page 104)
2 cups strawberries
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Sweet Cream Biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups heavy cream
For the strawberries: rinse the berries. Cut into slices and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and stir to coat. Chill, covered with plastic wrap, for 30 minutes or longer before serving. The strawberries will make their own syrup as they chill.
For the reduction: bring the vinegar and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan. Cook until the mixture is reduced by half.
For the biscuits: preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the cream gradually. Continue to mix with floured hands until well mixed. Place on a lightly floured surface and roll 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2- or 3-inch biscuit cutter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown.
For the assembly: place two biscuits on each serving plate. Top with the strawberries and drizzle with the reduction. Garnish with whipped cream.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings