strawberry fields...forever

I'm one of those girls! that's right, the kind that likes daydreaming and building up castles in the sky. I know, but still...I have always thought of my mind as a magical land filled with gardens where I could go to visit, play or just get lost in. When I'm bored my mind takes me on adventures to far away places and brings me home safely. When I need to think I wander the gardens I planted, with their long winding paths until things make sense again. Of course there were years when the gardens were slightly neglected for more important things, like raising my children, yet they flourished and I always knew they were there waiting for me creating memories among the flowers I could not always tend to. Some of the memories are always there, like a welcome guest, while others are shadows that hide in closets and creep around at night. As I get older I find these memories coming and going, running through my mind like a train without a schedule.

Food to me is like these memories...I dream it up, make it, eat it, and it becomes a part of me whether I remember it or not. It also has the magical powers to transport me back in time; a cherry Popsicle takes me back to my 5 year old self waiting patiently for the ice cream truck, fresh lobster enchants me with memories of falling in love with the Ocean, the smell of cookies baking reminds me of my grandmother, plums  provoke memories of my Mom's plum cakes, the smell of macaroni and cheese charms me with thoughts of my boys when they were babies, while the sweet smells of jell-o and new born babies dance together until they becomes one, and vanilla... vanilla is bewitching and reminds me of every beautiful moment in my life. 
I adore finger foods, to me they are they just so elegant, la-dee-da, frou frou, let's have a party type foods! My Mom made "finger food" and sliders long before they became popular. She cut her sheet cakes into adorable little diamond shapes and made us sandwiches that were only a one bite commitment. But, nothing conjures up sweet memories like strawberry shortcake. Strawberry shortcake is summer, blue-skies-sun-shining-swimming-pool-picnic-lazy-carefree-happy-summer-days.  The strawberry shortcake of my childhood was served on little round sponge cakes that came out of a package [sometimes it was biscuits made from Bisquick or on special occasions homemade pound cake], strawberry ice cream, strawberries and Dream Whip! Good stuff! I like my strawberries naked...not mucked up in a glaze or drunken with sugar or liquors.
Usually the biscuits for strawberry shortcakes is crumbly, the idea being that the crumbles absorb all the strawberry juice. But since we're making sliders here, we want a biscuit with a bit more structure, so an egg is added to the dough, then the dough is kneaded a few turns more than you normally would, the result darling is a perfect little biscuit for strawberry shortcake sliders that will blow your hair back.
Strawberry Shortcake Sliders
for the biscuits: (biscuit recipe adapted from Simply Recipes)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder*
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled (freezer for 15 minutes or longer)
7/8 cup (that's one cup minus 2 tablespoons) heavy whipping cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

About 36 fresh strawberries, rinsed, stems removed and sliced to about 1/4 inch thick

Whipped Cream

*Make sure your baking powder is less than 6 months old or it may be flat and your biscuits will have a hard time rising. If you don't have baking powder you can combine two teaspoons cream of tartar (a dry acid) with one teaspoon baking soda (a dry base) for the same effect.

1 In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder for the biscuits. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a fork or a pastry cutter, or pulse in a food processor until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas.

2 Use a fork to whisk together the cream, egg, and vanilla in a small bowl. Make a well in the large bowl of the flour mixture and pour the cream mixture into the center of it. Use a fork to mix until the dough is evenly moistened. The dough mixture should look shaggy. Knead the dough with your hands 8 turns or so to create a ball.

3 Lightly flour a smooth surface. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat or roll out until it is between 1/4 and 1/2-inch thick. Use a 1 1/2-inch diameter biscuit cutter (or a juice glass) to cut out round biscuit shapes from the dough. (It helps to dip the biscuit cutter in some flour before each cut, so that the dough doesn't stick to the form.) Place rounds on a baking sheet, space about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart from each other. Chill for 10 minutes in the refrigerator before baking.

4 Heat oven to 425°F. Bake biscuits on middle rack for 12 minutes, or until risen and lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool.

5 While the biscuits are cooling, prepare the strawberries and whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and keep chilled until it's time to assemble the mini strawberry shortcakes.

7 When the biscuits have cooled to room temperature, gently break them apart, separating the tops from the bottoms. Place a dollop of whipped cream on each bottom, then place one or two strawberry slices on top of the whipped cream and top with other half of the biscuit. I like to eat these topless [the sliders, not me]. Makes approximately 36 mini strawberry shortcake sliders.


Popular Posts