Sharyn Thompson

Happy Canada Day from Sharyn’s Pantry

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Are you wondering what you can make for a dessert for Canada Day this Sunday? I decided on making strawberry shortcake. Nothing says an early Canadian summer like freshly picked ripe juicy strawberries. The white of the shortcake and whipped cream and the brilliant red of the freshly picked strawberries even match our flags colours.

Go out to the Avonmore Berry Farm to pick your own strawberries or buy a basket already picked for you. It is always a pleasure to chat with Pam and David Phillips, the hard working owners of the Avonmore Berry Farm. They also sell freshly baked muffins, shortcake, biscuits, pies and jams and many farm vegetables. After choosing my basket of berries, I could hardly wait to get home and make our dessert. I am giving you a recipe for the shortcake to bake. Yesterday, I just used some of our breakfast scones I had baked and split them in half. With fluffy whipped cream and lots of juicy strawberries it was a delightful dessert.

Enjoy a great weekend celebrating our countries 151st birthday. We are so lucky to live here.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. fine salt

2 tbsp. white sugar

1/2 cup Crisco shortening

1 egg + enough milk to measure 1 cup liquid

2 quarts (8 cups) of fresh strawberries

sugar to taste

2 cups of whipping cream

a packet of WhipIt (a stabilizer for whipped cream, we sell this handy product at Sharyn’s Pantry.)

vanilla to taste or use vanilla sugar*

METHOD:

-Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

-In a bowl, sift your flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together.

-Using a pastry blender, cut in the Crisco shortening until it is the size of peas.

-Break the egg into a measuring cup for liquids, beat it with a fork and  add enough milk to measure 1 cup of liquid.

-Stir the egg and milk into the flour mixture. Mix together quickly and turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured board. Knead just a few times. DO NOT OVER MIX OR KNEAD.

-Pat out the dough to about 1″ in thickness. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into squares.

-Place the biscuits on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake them until golden brown in colour and done in the centre.

-Remove the tray of biscuits from your oven and cool them on a wire rack.

-Keep the stems on the strawberries, place them in a sieve or colander and rinse them under cold running water for a moment. Now remove the stems or hulls from the berries.

-Reserve a few whole berries and a few sliced berries for garnish.

-Mash the remaining berries in a bowl and add enough sugar to sweeten them to your taste. Set them aside.

-Whip the cold cream in a chilled bowl. I use a packet of WHIP IT to stabilize the cream. Add sugar to taste and a splash of vanilla if you wish. Or you can use vanilla sugar.* (To make this, split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and add it to a canister of white sugar or fruit sugar. Stir and allow to sit and absorb the flavour of the vanilla bean. Once I have used a split vanilla bean, in a recipe, I rinse it off, allow it to dry completely and then add it into my canister of vanilla sugar. Just add more sugar as necessary.) Refrigerate the whipped cream until you are ready to serve your dessert.

-To serve, split your shortcakes in half and place the bottoms on serving plates.

-Place a large dollop of the whipped cream over the shortcake base and a large spoonful of the mashed berries. Place the tops on the shortcakes and add another spoonful of whipped cream more berries, more cream and a whole strawberry on top. I garnished mine then with a couple of fresh mint leaves. ENJOY!

HOME CARE OF FRESH STRAWBERRIES

Fresh strawberries are very perishable. Their enemies are heat, water and time. Keep them cold and dry. Only rinse them when you will be using them right away. Do not remove the stem or hull until after you have rinsed them under cold water in a colander or sieve. Never allow the berries to stand in water.

TO FREEZE STRAWBERRIES:

Rinse, hull and slice. Whole berries may be frozen by placing them in  a single layer on shallow baking trays with sides. Freeze quickly and then bag them in ziploc bags. Enjoy eating them while still partially frozen.

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