Roasted Strawberry Shortcakes with Balsamic Cream

Ohh yes, come to Mama.  I have always been sort of generally ambivalent to strawberry shortcake.  Sure, the buttery biscuits and clouds of whipped cream would make almost anything delicious, but when “anything” really means a carton of grocery store strawberries, frankly I still felt it left a little to be desired.

Sure, maybe I’m spoiled for strawberries now because when I was a kid, we planted a few strawberry plants.  They yielded small, deep ruby berries with an intense strawberry flavor, sort of the essence of the fruit.  By comparison, the bland strawberries in the supermarket that grow larger than most people’s noses just aren’t anything special.  As a result, I mostly stay away from them.

This year though, I’ve discovered the magic of roasting, a sort of mystical process of heat and caramelization that deepens the flavors of almost anything – meats, vegetables, would it work on fruits?  Oh my goodness yes.  Read on to follow my path to strawberry shortcake enlightenment.

Roasted Strawberry Shortcakes with Balsamic Cream

Okay, I doubt I’m saying anything new here, but for those who haven’t heard, don’t be afraid of the balsamic.  Even a small amount will intensify the flavor of the strawberries, though honestly, I’d eat a bowl of balsamic whipped cream by itself any day.  It’s surprisingly delicious!

Roasted Strawberries (3-4 servings)

Make these first, and then let them cool while you are making the shortcake.  Otherwise, all your nicely whipped cream will melt when you put it all together like mine did!  Also, you may have some strawberry syrup left over – save this and you can use it in other desserts, in mixed drinks, etc.

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart container strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/4-1/2 c. brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Combine quartered strawberries with brown sugar in a square baking dish.
  3. Bake approximately 30 minutes, giving strawberries a stir every 10 minutes, until soft and bubbling.

Shortcake (makes 6-8 shortcakes)

From Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, first edition

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c. milk

Directions:

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs.  Add egg and milk; stir until just moistened.
  2. Knead once or twice until dough comes together and turn out onto lightly floured surface.  Pat dough 1/2-inch thick, in a roughly rectangular shape.  Cut into biscuits, 6 or 8 depending on what size you’d like them.
  3. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Balsamic Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • drizzle of balsamic (how much is up to you, but I think I used about 1 tbsp.)

Directions:

  1. Whip cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters until it is beginning to thicken up.
  2. Sprinkle sugar over the cream and drizzle vinegar in.
  3. Beat until cream comes to soft peaks.

Assembly:

  1. Let shortcakes and strawberries cool to about room temperature.  Split each shortcake in half and place bottom on plate.
  2. Spread some strawberries and whipped cream on the bottom.  Top with shortcake top, and add more strawberries and whipped cream.
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