Saturday, April 9, 2011

Strawberry Season!

I wanted to do something really good to make up for missing a week and a half of posting here. I was also informed that strawberries were on sale down at the local grocery story. Then, something clicked in my head. I present to you, the Strawberry Shortcake baking and coordinate matching special post! Strawberries are a very popular motif in Lolita fashion. They pop up in prints, accessories, purses, and even in headpieces. They're super tasty all by themselves, but put them with cake and you get something even more special. Strawberry shortcake is easy and quick to make, it's very popular in the summertime. Around 4th of July (American Independence Day), I make it and add blueberries to make them a little more festive. I made some individual serving size ones this afternoon andI'd like to share the process with you all!

1 Quart Strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
2/3 cup + a little extra half and half
Sweetened whipped cream (I like Redi Whip, or I make my own)

The recipe I used is from Paula Deen. I'm not a huge Paula fan, but with desserts, I trust her. The recipe is really simple, I only had to buy the half and half and the strawberries. I bought two pounds of strawberries, and I used them all up. Some of them were small and normal sized, but some were these ginormous strawberries the likes of which I've never seen! Both sizes were tasty though.

Anyhow, you have to pull the leaves off the strawberries and wash them. Then, you cut the top off a little and hull them. This means you take the tip of the knife and you cut around the white part in
the middle of the strawberry. Then it sort of pops out, leaving just a little white and all the red. Then you quarter them (or cut them more if they're huge ones, I cut my huge ones into six or even nine). Once you have a quart of them (that's four cups), then you pour the 1/4 cup of sugar over them and mix 'em up! Set these aside and let them get all tasty while you make the cakes.

Now, take your food processor and combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Use the pulse setting to combine these. I spent half an hour trying to make my food processor work. Hopefully, you know how to use this machine and you don't cut yourself on the blade! After you combine the flour mixture, then you want to add the cubes of butter, one or
two at a time, then pulse to combine. Once they're all in, pour the mixture out into a large mixing bowl. Add 2/3 cup of half and half and mix it all up. You can mix it with a rubber spatula, or you can go the hand route. I mixed it up by hand. You have to be careful to only mix it just enough to make it combine. If you mix the dough too much, then the biscuits will betough. Once it's just combined and sticky, then get yourself a floured surface (hint:wooden cutting boards are really nice for this) and turn the dough out onto it.

Now you have your dough. Fold it over on itself a few times so that all the crumbly bits combine into it. Be careful to not squish it too much, it will still get tough if you kneed it too much. Sort of push it together into a 3/4 inch thick slab o' dough. Now, you take a round cookie cutter and cut out 3 inch round biscuits. They
don't have to be 3 inches, but they should probably be round and not too small. I got six biscuits out of my dough.

Place the rounds on a cookie sheet with parchment paper covering it. Using a pastry brush, brush each biscuit with some of the remaining half and half, and sprinkle each with sugar. This will make them golden brown on top, and add a little sweetness too! Put them in a 400 degree fahrenheit oven (that's 205 Celsius) for between 10 and 13 minutes. Mine took 11 minutes exactly. Watch them towards the end, especially if your oven is finicky or new. They'll be done when they have risen and are golden brown on the top. Take them out and let them cool a little bit before digging in.

I waited a good five minutes before making my shortcake. You cut the biscuit in half and fill it with the strawberries, juice in the strawberry bowl, and plenty of whipped cream. Put the other half back on top and ta da! Strawberry shortcake! I paired this dessert with Darjeeling tea. From the name, to the taste, Darjeeling tea is pure elegance. It comes from the Darjeeling region of India, grown in the mountains and harvested, processed, and packaged close to the growing site. It is known as the "Champagne of teas," and is prized in England for its light and
floral flavor. Darjeeling is a good choice to pair with sweets, and is often served at fancy English tea parties. It pairs especially well with strawberries, making it the ideal choice to go with this strawberry shortcake. I add a little sugar and sometimes a little milk to mine. Many people don't like milk in their tea, but I do! Point of interest: do not add both milk and lemon to your tea. I have a friend who did this, and the citric acid from the lemon curdled the milk, making the whole cup undrinkable.

The coordinate I made to go with the dessert is called "Strawberry Time." The phrase "strawberry time" actually refers to the time in which two lovers confess their feelings to each other and become a couple. Here, I used it to refer to it being strawberry season, literally time for strawberries.
I went a little country on this, with this really cute straw hat-hairband hybrid thing. The dress has a strawberry and cherry print and is a 2010 release from BABY the Stars Shine Bright. Simple strawberry jewelry and a strawberry bag from Bodyline completes the shortcake theme. This would be a great coordinate to have right now. The long sleeve blouse is good for this 50 or 60 degree weather that we've been having recently. It's not too thick, but the long sleeves will keep you warm. In the warmer months, the long blouse could be switched out for a short sleeve one. You could also wear a cardigan or bolero over a short sleeve blouse now, since during the day is a little warmer and then the evening comes, the sun sets, and it gets cold.

Did you enjoy this super special dessert coordinate double post as much as I did? I have five more strawberry shortcakes here, I think I'll go eat one now. I'm looking forward to coordinate tuesday this week, as I have a reader submission! I'm so so excited to have my very first reader submission to put up this week! If you want to make a coordinate for this Tuesday, it's not too late! Email it to me: and I'll put it up here!