Lately, I've been experimenting a bit more with whole grain baking. It's a punishing exercise, adapting recipes that once bowed to your touch with cumbersome, heavy whole grains and figuring out how to reconfigure the pastry puzzle so that they retain the light, airy characteristics desirable in a cake/scone/etc.
Below you'll find the fruits of my labor with the humble shortcake. Essentially what would happen if a scone and a biscuit got married and had a baby, the shortcake is emblematic of mid-20th-century America, when everything felt shiny and full of promise. Maybe that's why I love it. Or maybe I love it because it's so delicious.
Strawberries are in season, so I took them and gave them a bit of a girly, grown-up twist by macerating them with some merlot rose wine that I had laying around. A nice twist from my usual addition of Grand Marnier.
Shortcakes remain one of my favorite desserts, ever. Whether prim & proper or fat, juicy and messy, they are pastry's version of the social butterfly, at home at a backyard picnic or on a white tablecloth.
- 2(16-oz.) containers fresh strawberries, quartered
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup merlot rose wine
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed & frozen
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup honey
Combine strawberries, 1/2 cup sugar, and merlot rose wine. Cover berry mixture, and let stand at least 1 hour. Whip cream. When it starts to gain body, add 2 TBSP of sugar, gradually. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 400º. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly (using either a food processor). Whisk together eggs, milk, and honey until blended; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Drop about 1/3 cup worth of dough in balls on baking sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes or until light brown. Remove to wire racks to cool slightly.Once cooled, split shortcakes in half horizontally. Spoon someberry mixture onto each shortcake bottom; top each with a dollop of whipped cream, add a few more strawberries and cover with tops.