Strawberry shortcake is a classic and no one turns down a slice of it at at a family gathering. I am not sure where I got the gf shortcake recipe; maybe my old Bette Hagman Gourmet Cookbook. I used to make shortcake a lot when I could still use all purpose flour but my gf biscuit version is pretty tasty. But there is one thing, you gotta make it with the best freaking strawberries you can find. None of those ultra firm ones with whitish cores that are shipped in from far away. You need juicy ripe scented red berries that are served over a gluten free short bread. Yes, my local season is done but it can be done with other than local produce – the riper the better and it will taste great!
My mom always made a gorgeous version of strawberry shortcake. When I was a kid she would serve it as an entire meal. I have done that and it is kinda cool. Pre gluten free I generally made a huge oval biscuit with a smaller topping biscuit that I split off and buttered the split area before topping with berries and the smaller biscuit and topped with more ripe berries and a pillow of softly whipped heavy cream. Oh berry perfection! Now I bake it in two separate pans but the construction of the final product is the same otherwise. The pictures on construction are a couple of years old but the process is the same and the results are consistently heavenly….
Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake, GF2.3
1 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. xanthan gum
6 tbsp cold butter
1 medium egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
2-3 tsp. sugar (optional)
2 tsp. soft butter
2 quarts ripe strawberries
½ cup sugar
2-3 tbsp. Karo light syrup
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ tsp. real vanilla
2 tbs. powdered sugar (if you like your cream sweet)
Heat oven t0 400 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter until it is small pebbles. Add the egg and most of the buttermilk. Mix with a spoon; add rest of buttermilk if you need it. It should be a bit sticky, don’t over mix; just until dry is blended in. Spray the inside of an eight inch cake pan and a 6 inch cake pan with cooking spray. If you don’t have a small pan just use two 8 inch ones. Pat ¾ of the dough into the 8 inch; make it about ¾ to 1 inch thick and try to smooth the top and side edges a bit. Put the rest of the dough in the smaller pan and do the same smoothing. Make that one ½ to ¾ inch thick. Optional: take 2-3 tsp. of granulated sugar and sprinkle it over top of them. I think it gives a great finish to the shortcake. Bake them about 20 to 25 min; the smaller one should be done in 20 minutes; a golden light brown. Set on a cooling rack for a few minutes.
While it bakes, get the berries ready. Hull 2 quarts of fresh ripe berries. Place them in a glass mixing bowl; chop through them a few strokes with a sharp knife. Add ½ cup sugar and about 2-3 tbsp. Karo light corn syrup to the berries. Stir well and refrigerate until the shortcake is baked. You could do this berry preparation up to two hours in advance. No more or they will start to disintegrate.
Place the fairly hot bigger layer on a large platter, one big enough to hold the shortbread and still have room for a generous overflow of strawberries. Butter lightly if you wish. Top with several big spoonfuls of berries. Don’t worry if there is juice in the berry bowl; there should be; melted down sugar and Karo syrup with berry juice will give you a delish berry liquid. Top with the second smaller biscuit and then more berries. Cut into chunks. Top with freshly whipped cream; beat a cup of heavy whipping cream until it is softly whipped. Add ½ tsp. vanilla and ¼ cup sugar if you wish it sweet. Be sure to pour the berry juice over your shortcake; it soaks in and adds to the strawberry experience.
My dad liked to pour unbeaten cream over his shortcake. My mom usually set out the whipped cream, a jug of cream and some whole milk so you could chose how to finish off your personal shortcake. I might add that I grew up on a farm so this was raw milk from grass pastured cows; fantastic cream equaling a freaking perfect shortcake topper. We also grew our own berries; no chemical sprayed on them ever.’
Notes: Karo is sugar syrup; I know, I know its not very healthy but it is only a bit and it improves the berries to have some. Just do it. And while I am being bossy: please use real whipped cream. So easy to make and if you are going to the trouble of a scratch shortcake you need the real deal topping. It is hugely worth it. I actually stored some whipped cream in the fridge overnight and it was still decent the next day although the texture is a bit softer than it originally was. Strawberry shortcake is a decadent treat but honestly no more so than a sundae you get at an ice cream place. SO go ahead and indulge. Enjoy!
If there is any left over it makes a great breakfast the next morning!
Originally published in June 2014.