One of my fondest young adulthood memories is of strawberry shortcake. Or rather the woman who made it. Years ago my family gathered at my grandmother’s house to celebrate her 70th birthday. She had made strawberry shortcake for dessert after a traditional summer dinner of fried chicken and potato salad. When we all arrived that afternoon, my little sister was haunting the kitchen and asked “Nano – could we just have strawberry shortcake now?”
My grandmother, who was a flapper, divorced a husband in the 30’s when it wasn’t fashionable to do so, and sailed to Africa on a steamship by herself, was nonplussed. She laughed heartily and said , “Of course we can!”. So we all sat down in the garden on a hot Texas afternoon and gorged on luscious strawberries and sweet whipped cream sandwiched between her lighter-than-air biscuits. And, yes, we still ate the chicken and potato salad for dinner.
Strawberry shortcake to some means strawberries over angel food cake. But true shortcake is a type of flaky sweetened biscuit. They are split hot from the oven, piled with fresh sliced room-temperature strawberries and topped with icy whipped cream. Nirvana!
Make yourself some delicious memories this summer.
Nano’s shortcake (or biscuits if you leave out the sugar)
The beauty of this recipe is that you can use any type of berry or fruit in season. Peaches, blackberries, blueberries or raspberries make delectable shortcake.
2 c. sifted flour
1 T. baking powder
½ t. salt
¼ t. baking soda
2 T. sugar
6 T. butter
1 c. buttermilk
Blend dry ingredients, cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and mix lightly, just enough to incorporate the ingredients. Pat into a loose ball, turn onto a floured board and roll out to about ½” thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes.
Let cool a few minutes, split with a fork and layer with sweetened fruit and top with whipped cream.