I began my food recipe bucket list a while ago to inspire me to try out new food and conquer cooking fears. The list can be a bit daunting, since it lists a lot of fears that have yet to be looked at let alone conquered, but I like to dip my spoon in when the mood strikes.
Lately, I’ve noticed that I haven’t allowed myself a lot of freedom to explore new techniques. I haven’t given myself the necessary time to prep, start, and learn. Instead, I’ve relied on old basics and while yummy, they aren’t exactly doing it for me in the creativity and challenges department of my brain.
Take for example an item on the list that should have been a regular on our dessert plates years ago: Strawberry Shortcake.
With my love of strawberries being true and everlasting, I was shocked that in all of our eight years of marriage, I have not once made strawberry shortcake.
Strawberries, oh, how I love thee. Let me bake thy ways.
(Image from NewTimes)
Except, apparently, with shortcake.
Odd the little things one avoids and forgets about. What amounts to a scone with strawberries and cream had, apparently, become a dessert that was too much for our forks.
So, when I wondered about what to do with the 2 lbs of strawberries I bought at my last grocery
splurge shop, I immediately set out to remedy this appalling problem.
Picking a recipe wasn’t too hard. The variety of delicious variations on the strawberry scone were endless, but I wanted to use my cookbooks. I don’t have very many. I keep a tight reign on what gets a spot on my shelf and donate books when I find their resourcefulness gone. I haven’t tried every cookbook in the William’s Sonoma range, but one that has come through time again is their Essentials of Baking. The beautifully clear pictures with detailed directions produce delicious results and their shortcake recipe is spectacular.
Course, I had to make some changes. It wouldn’t be an iscribbler recipe if I left it alone.
If I can make a successful, healthy substitute, then I will, and I have no fear with tweaking sugars, butters, and fats. I know that ratios are important, so I try to make “educated guesses” to avoid horrible mishaps.
Sometimes I’m lucky.
These shortcakes? I got lucky.
They called for a 1/3 cup of heavy cream (and more if you want drop cakes or to spread on the tops). I don’t know about you, but I find it difficult to believe that anyone keeps heavy cream well stocked in their fridge. Since I find it hard to even bring myself to consider it unless absolutely necessary, you can count on it not being in ours.
What I did have (and lots of it), is Chobani 0% plain greek yogurt.
Heavy cream and I don’t get along, so I looked to my greek yogurt. Obviously, heavy cream is liquid and greek yogurt is more solid. So, I scooped out nearly a 1/3 cup of yogurt and filled the cup with skim milk (about a tablespoon). I kept all of the other ingredients the same, but used the skim milk to spread on top for the sugar.
Result? Wonderfully flaky biscuits with a slight crunch, a complex buttery taste and a sturdy body to hold the strawberries. They didn’t rise very much, but that could be due to how high I patted the dough or my typical failure in getting things to rise. It’s plagued me off and on since I started baking and I wish there was a baker “doctor” who could diagnose me.
Note: Recipe below can be found unaltered in the William’s Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook. It offers you choices between cut cakes or drop cakes and a strwaberry mixture a tad more complicated than my “cut and eat” variety. My changes are in red.
(Can make 11 by would make great 8 tall-ish cakes.)
- 2 cups cake flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- scant 1/3 cup 0% plain greek yogurt, topped off with skim milk (about 1 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 425 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives (or 2 hands, like I did), cut in butter until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs.
- In a small bowl, mix the egg, and yogurt/milk mixture until blended.
- Pour the egg mixture over dry ingredients and mix until moistened.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times until dough comes together. Pat out into a 3/4 inch round (for shorter cakes), and cut with a 3 inch round biscuit cutter. Place cakes on prepared pan.
- Brush tops of cakes with milk and scatter turbinado sugar on top.
- Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Cool on wire rack. Cut in half, top with strawberries and whipped topping (I used Trader Joe’s frozen whip), and eat.