Strawberry Shortcake

I spent many a summer eating this humble and delicious dessert! It’s been a favorite in my family for at least 3 generations.  Fannie Farmer first published her cookbook, The Boston Cooking School Cook Book, back in 1896 and it has been considered the greatest American cookbook. Her cookbook introduced the concept of using standardized measuring spoons and cups, as well as level measurement which is now considered standard in American cooking.  I’ve had my Fannie Farmer cookbook since 1980 (1979 edition) and I think my Mom bought hers in 1961.  The Fannie Farmer was referred to religiously by my Mom and grandmother and as such I knew about Fannie long before I ever thought of cooking myself.

Makes One 8-inch Round Cake or Eight 2-inch Rounds
adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

280g (2 cups) flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter
150ml (2/3 cup) milk
fresh ripe strawberries
sugar for the strawberries
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Preheat the oven to 220c (425f). Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar in a bowl. Cut the butter into bits and work it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or your fingers until the mix resembles coarse meal. Slowly stir in the milk, using just enough to hold the dough together. Turn out onto a floured board and lightly knead for a minute or two. Pat the dough into a greased and floured 8-inch cake pan or roll it 3/4 of an inch thick and cut it into eight 2-inch rounds using a biscuit cutter. Arrange the rounds on a cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes, or for the larger cake 12-15 minutes, until they have risen and are golden.

While the biscuits are baking, wash and slice strawberries. Add sugar to taste (not too sweet) and stir. Whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Split the biscuit in half and add a spoonful of sliced strawberries and top with whipped cream. Cover with the biscuit top, add more strawberries and whipped cream.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Shades of summer with this dessert! The biscuits can be served warm or at room temperature and you can use whatever fruit takes your fancy!