27 April 2012

Strawberry Shortcake - Gluten-Free or Not




Strawberry shortcake is the quintessential summer dessert. A bit rustic in appearance, it is the perfect finale to a cookout or other casual dinner. Let's get real--it can even be dinner!

Strawberry shortcake can be made with those little store-bought sponge cakes or slices of pound cake or angel food cake, but I've always favored the kind made with slightly sweet baking powder biscuits. I draw the line, though, at buttering the biscuits before piling on the strawberries and whipped cream. 

If you are not on a gluten-free diet, just replace the first four ingredients of the biscuit dough with 2 packed cups (10 ounces) of unbleached all-purpose flour. And if you don't use alcohol, or are serving the shortcake to children or people who don't use alcohol, just leave out the orange liqueur. I just put it in because I think orange is the perfect accent for strawberries. 

So, tell me, how do you like your strawberry shortcake? 

Strawberry Shortcake 

(Makes 8 servings) 

Berries
2 1-pound clamshells (or 3 baskets) organic strawberries, stemmed and sliced
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange liqueur or fresh orange juice

Drop Biscuits
3/4 packed cup sorghum flour
3/4 packed cup potato starch
1/2 packed cup tapioca starch
1 1/8 teaspoons xanthan gum
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Zest of 1 medium orange
1 cup milk or organic rice milk

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 About an hour before serving time, stir together strawberries, sugar and liqueur or juice in 2-quart bowl. Cover, and let stand at room temperature while you're making the biscuits. 

2 Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line an insulated baking sheet with parchment; set aside.

3 In 2-quart bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. With your fingers or a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the cold butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs with some bigger chunks remaining. Pour milk or rice milk over flour mixture and gently mix until just combined.

4 Using a greased 1/3 cup measure, scoop out 8 mounds of dough about 2 inches apart on the parchment-lined insulated baking sheet. If you have dough left over, scrape it out and divide it among the 8 mounds. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let biscuits cool slightly on wire rack while you're making the whipped cream. 

5 In mixing bowl, combine cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Whip to soft peaks.

6 Slice the biscuits horizontally and place the bottom halves in serving bowls. Divide the strawberries among the bowls, reserving some berries and juice to spoon on top. Divide the whipped cream among the bowls. Top each serving with a biscuit top. Garnish with remaining berries and juice. Serve immediately.

20 comments:

Cranberry Morning said...

Thank you for posting this gluten-free recipe! Little sponge cake shortcakes don't appeal to me at all, but biscuits? YES. And I just might put a little butter on that biscuit, but don't tell anyone. ;-) Looks delicious, Jean!

Jean said...

Judy, thanks. I do like to post something for my gluten-free friends once in a while. I won't tell anyone about your butter if you won't tell anyone that time before last when I made these biscuits I got distracted and left out the baking powder. Let's just say they were tasty but very compact! But I felt bad about wasting my expensive gluten-free ingredients.

LANA said...

Biscuits are definitely the best - hands down! My strawberries should be ready by late May early June, I'll be making these biscuits frequently!

Jean said...

Thanks, Lana. I hope you like them as much as we do. Gotta be biscuits AND gotta be DROP biscuits rather than the smooth rolled ones!

Charles said...

Hi Jean - I actually make my strawberry shortcake using shortbread. Its the only way I've ever had it in England, but this isn't the first time time I've seen a recipe involving non-shortbread ingredients so it would seem maybe I've been making it wrong - either way it's delicious though... my wife always wants pound cake with cream and strawberries for her birthday each year :)

Jean said...

I don't think there's a wrong way to make strawberry shortcake, Charles. I definitely prefer the American biscuit (much like the British scone), but I'll take my strawberries with any of the options!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

I like strawberry shortcake...across the table from me. Allergies. OK...I used to be allergic to strawberries. Truth be told, unless it's turned into sugary glurp, it's not sweet enough for me to waste my augar quota on. BUT...I've always thought it was among the best LOOKING desserts, and yours, um...takes the cake. In fact, once a year I used to by one of those Big Boy strawberry pies, just because I'd convince myself it would taste as good as it looks. It never did, alas...

Jean said...

Thank you! And I'd be willing to put extra sugar on your serving! So many of the strawberries available in supermarkets are flavorless. White on the inside and all the flavor of styrofoam. One of the farmers at our farmers market has the best berries in the world--red all the way through and flavor so intense you can smell them a block away AND so sweet they don't even need sugar. I'm afraid I've never had a slice of that restaurant pie you referred to that wasn't what you might call "all hat and no cattle." I assure you my strawberry shortcake tasted just as good as it looked!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Jean I simply want to close my eyes and cover my ears....As I always say...you make it all look soooooo yummy. I'm trying to keep my blood sugars in check by limiting the starchy carbs. But hey--who could pass up those fabulous looking strawberry Shorcakes? Maybe just one batch this weekend--my husband would love me for them. And those strawberries are good for the memory. Topped with Freshly whipped Organic Cream.....sigh!

Jean said...

Thanks, Sue! If you can get some really good strawberries you don't even have to sugar them, whipped cream is wonderful without sugar, and one biscuit has just 1 1/8 teaspoon sugar. There, does that make you feel better!

Javelin Warrior said...

I'll be honest: I love the look of strawberry shortcakes, especially those made with biscuits and whipped cream, but I really don't enjoy them at all. The crumbly texture of the biscuit with the juicy fruit and fluffy whipped cream - you'd think it would be an awesome combo, but for some reason it's never satisfying... But it is beautiful :)

Jean said...

Thanks, JW. I know what you mean. There are some foods I feel that way about. Like sushi. It can look so beautiful, but to me it's just not satisfying.

Sippity Sup said...

I agree with you biscuit like. slightly sweet slightly savory. GREG

Jean said...

Thanks, Greg. I love it when great cooks agree with me!

inluvwithwords said...

As always, that is a gorgeous picture!

Strawberry shortcake is a summer favorite around here. We don't make it with biscuits though. I make a buttery one-bowl busy day cake, and mash about half of the strawberries so there's lots of juice for the cake to absorb.

I grew a great patch of strawberries for years until my husband put on a farmers porch and I lost my beds. I've tried planting them elsewhere but just haven't had much success. The store-bought berries just don't compare.

Jean said...

Thank you! I hope Tastespotting agrees with you about my photo! Bummer about your strawberry beds. I relocated my planting beds, but I think they are going to be an improvement. I'm hoping to grow some decent tomatoes this year.

Mary said...

This is the perfect shortcake recipe. Slightly sweet, perfectly red berries and some whipped cream. I like the GF variation too. I'll be trying it soon. I still haven't played with sorghum flour yet. I want to try it. Thanks!

Jean said...

Thanks, Mary! I hope you like it with the sorghum flour which, I think, has a really good texture.

cookingwithmerry said...

I was so excited to see a strawberry shortcake similar to the ones I grew up eating. I grew up in Lancaster County, PA, where strawberry shortcake was what you have in that picture. I moved to Jersey and met my Mister, and was shocked to find that they consider shortcake to be angel food cake layered with whipped cream and topped with strawberries...the only way they resembled what I believed to be a strawberry shortcake was they both had strawberries...they weren't even short!!

Jean said...

Thanks, Merry! You must have had lots of good food in Lancaster PA. I've always wanted to visit there. As much as I like angel food cake, as you said, it isn't even "short."

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