Friday, May 9, 2008

Kids Make Strawberry Shortcake

We are working our way through spring's seasonal fruits and vegetables in our "food appreciation" classes. Kids love engaging the food with their hands and strawberry shortcake gives them plenty to do, such as cutting the butter into the flour for our biscuits. You can do this with knives or forks, but we like doing it with our fingers, squeezing butter and flour together and squeezing, squeezing, squeezing with very quick movements until the finished product looks almost like sand.

The recipe we use for our biscuits is 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk all that together in a large bowl, then cut in 6 tablepoons of cold butter, cut into little pieces. Add 3/4 cups milk and stir until everything is just incorporated. This makes 16 smaller-than-usual biscuits

A secret to great biscuits is to work the dough as little as possible, so they come out light and flaky. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and push it together with your hands a couple of times until it holds its shape. Then roll it out to a thickness of 1 inch or 3/4 inch, depending on how many biscuits you want to make and how thick.

I forgot to bring my metal biscuit cutter. A sharp edge helps when cutting out biscuits. The edges are not so prone to stick together, helping the biscuit to rise more easily. We improvised, using a sturdy, paper hot drink cup with the bottom cut out.

While the biscuits were baking in a 450-degree oven, we trimmed about 1 pound strawberries and cut them into small pieces, then mashed them with 1 tablespoon sugar. The sugar draws out the juices.

We also made whipped cream, 1 cup cream sweetened with 1 tablespoon sugar. You can also flavor it with a little vanilla extract if you like. We try to avoid refined sugar when we can. You can cut back on the sugar in the biscuits, the strawberries and the whipped cream for this dessert. Otherwise, this is a rare treat, not something to serve every night.

Once the biscuits were cooled, we cut them in half. You can also pry them apart with a fork. Spoon some strawberries over the bottom, then top with whipped cream and cover with the other half of the biscuit at a jaunty angle.

And did I mention, kids love to eat strawberry shortcake as well?


Pattie said...

Ed: I JUST got a flat of organic strawberries from a nearby farmer last night, so this is now in the weekend plan!

<> WeekendFarmer <> said...

ummmmm!! any leftovers??

Ed Bruske said...

Pattie, eat shortcake for as long as the season lasts.

WF, we did have some leftovers, but the teachers at them.