Real Deal Strawberry Shortcake

strawberry shortcake

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….

shortcake 2
shortcake bisquit
shortcake 5
shortcake 3
shortcake ready
strawberry shortcake

Mom’s Strawberry Shortcake, GF2.3

Biscuit dough

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

————————–

Other ingredients:

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)

Directions
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!

shortcake, one serving

If there is any left over it makes a great breakfast the next morning!

Originally published in June 2014.

strawberry shortcake

Pizza that Wows! And the English Muffins will Amaze You…

Pizza is a tough food to replicate gluten free. For a year I didn’t really try. I finally attempted one by Annalise Roberts. It has that thin crust which is  almost cracker like. Not bad in flavor and definitely better than ones I get in restaurants or buy premade. I have made that crust many times. Then, a revolution – this winter I found this awesome pizza dough that makes the best focaccia bread that I have every made crust ever; crispy bottom and soft top. Perfectly delicious bread to go with an italian meal. And then I discovered that it makes a wonderful pizza too. Have made both several times.

This week I used some of the dough to make English Muffins; the first half became a pizza of epic beauty and lovely flavor.  The muffin recipe is actually the base recipe for the other two foods. Oh, my goodness; they are definitely the best English muffins I have made since going gluten free. Thank goodness I bought English muffin rings years ago; that recipe back then didn’t work but this one does. It’s a keeper; the texture, flavor, looks, taste; all is much better than any others I have made. I love that it is “baked” under a lid on your griddle or electric fry pan. I used my cast iron griddle on a low setting.

Best process is if you let the dough rise 2 hours in your kitchen warmth and then refrigerate it for 4-10 hours or overnight. It can be used as soon as you take the bowl out of your fridge.

Here is a link to the base recipe: https://www.letthemeatgfcake.com/gluten-free-english-muffins/

These are the ingredients. I do weigh my flour these days; much more accurate so there are both ways in the list for flour and sugar:

  • 3¼ cups (455 g) Kim’s gluten free bread flour blend
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp (16 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp rapid rise/instant yeast
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • about 1/3-½ cup gf cornmeal for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp butter
  •  

Here is a link to her bread flour mix. I am thinking of making it in bigger quantities as I have had such success with her recipes. 

https://www.letthemeatgfcake.com/resources/gluten-free-flour-blends/

It contains white rice flour, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. Super easy to do with a good scale. And these are fairly standard ingredients; nothing too weird. Far cheaper too than buying those 1 to 1 mixtures or any gf blended flour. Totally worth it! You make enough flour blend for like 4 pizzas. The recipe makes enough for two 12-14 inch pizzas or 2 focaccias. I like to do a pizza and on a second day something different from the remaining dough. It will keep for several days in the fridge. That’s timesaving; one dough; two recipes.

I did the focaccia first, then tried pizza…was blown away by it and this week the English muffins flipped my lid with their texture, looks and flavor. They all are just fabulous in texture and flavor. Really head turning for me for how close they came to all purpose flour baking of my past…may not be as healthy as a multigrain dough but it sure brings back good memories and is so enjoyable. If you bake gf; this dough is super easy to make in a stand mixer and let rise, chill it and make a great pizza. Just plan for it as the dough is better if it has that refrigeration period. Ditto for the English muffins although the round tin molds make them look just perfect. I used a thick pizza pan to make my new favorite pizza and a cast iron frying pan for the focaccia; no kneading, no super liquid messy stuff; it is sticky but it doesn’t need much forming. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy!!

Buttermilk Caramel Pie

This pie was revolutionary for me. Been debating buttermilk pie for a long time; felt chess pie (a southern standard) was too sweet and buttermilk pie sounded bland. Finally found a great recipe that wasn’t too sweet and had a perfect texture.  It is from a great new cookbook; “Pie Academy” by Ken Haedrich. This was the first thing I baked from it. Won’t be the last. This guy knows pies!

FYI: It doesn’t have a strong buttermilk presence, more of an undertone. The main thrust is a delightful light caramel flavor and that creamy texture I was hoping for. It is otherwise neutral and perfect all by itself.

Of course, I made my pie gluten free; used my trusty favorite pie crust and put 3 tbsp. of King Arthur basic gf blend in it in place of all purpose flour.

Just baked; kinda puffed up. It will settle back as it cools. Please do not eat this warm much less hot. Room temp is best! Don’t let it’s simple appearance fool you. It is a subtle blending of sugars, buttermilk, vanilla, eggs and butter. Mmmm…….

Indiana Buttermilk Pie

One pie crust; prebake it for 10 min at 375. I let mine cool about 10-15 min before filling it. Here’s my recipe:

1 c plus 2 tbsp King Arthur basic gf flour mix

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions: Spray a nine inch pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour. Set aside. Half the time, no 90 percent of the time I don’t bother…

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Roll out and fit into pie pan, don’t leave the center too thick! Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Let cool at least 10 min before filling.

Filling Ingredients:

½ c packed light brown sugar

½ c sugar

3 Tbsp flour (I used King Arthur basic gf blend)

1/8 tsp salt

3 lg eggs plus one yolk

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ c. buttermilk

3 tbsp. unsalted butter; melted

Directions: I used my stand mixer (you can use a food processor too or even a portable mixer). I put the dry ingredients in the bowl and mixed them briefly. Add the eggs and yolk and mix well. Add rest of ingredients; blend until all smooth; check to make sure the very bottom got blended too. Oven should be 350 degrees. Put pie shell on a baking sheet or pie drip pan and carefully pour in the creamy mixture. Bake on lowest shelf for about 40 min. Do not let it come out jiggly; should be fairly firm. Let cool on rack until room temperature before slicing. It is also nice chilled. Enjoy!

Pecan Tart is Terrific!

Something sort of sweet for a spring weekend, no fresh fruit available in the house. But I have a bag of pecan halves. Perfect. I wanted a whole tart not some small individual tarts like I’ve made in the past so I just used my long rectangular tart; it worked great, correct amount of filling. You can also use a 9 inch round tart pan . A rectangular one is kinda fun to cut in narrow slices across the width. And a tart is not quite as thick as a pie; I like the crust and filling proportions.

Notes: You have to use dark corn syrup.  Yes, I know corn syrup is an unhealthy item but sometimes you just have to go wicked!  It’s worth it, I promise. Cross my heart. Oh and NO margarine. Butter! Or Earth Balance if you don’t eat real butter.

This tart was awesome as is but are also great with some freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream which is quite popular at my house.

Ready for the oven….

Angie’s GF Pecan Tart

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Crust directions: Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembles coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you get the rest ready.

Filling:

2 large eggs

1/3 c sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 and a half tbsp. melted butter

1/2 cup dark corn syrup

1 cup pecan halves

Sprinkle cinnamon

Filling: Beat eggs, sugar, salt, butter and corn syrup in a bowl until well mixed, can use a hand held mixer.  Stir in pecans and a good sprinkle of cinnamon.

Assembly: Roll out pie crust between the two long sheets of wax paper; try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and lay in long rectangluar tart shell or a round one if that’s what you got.  Crimp edges all around.   Fill your shell with pecan mix.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven on a low shelf for 25 or so minutes until set and crust edges lightly browned.  Cool at least 1/2 hour before serving warm or at room temperature or even slightly chilled. 

Freshly baked long pean tart!
My slice!

Almond Tort

I found this recipe on line somewhere for an almond cake but it was in British measurement and oven temp. I did some math and measuring; a lot of number changing and a bit of guessing. I gave it a whirl; made some minor changes to amounts, simplified a bit and added some almond extract for more flavor. And it turned out so delicious.   More of a torte in my mind so that’s what I am calling it. Next time I think I will use a slightly smaller spring-form pan; an 8 inch rather than the 9 inch I made it in.  That will make it thicker; might have to bake it longer. Otherwise; perfect dessert treat: tender with a delicate almond flavor. The coconut is a back note but I liked it in there. Just sweet enough for us. You can add another quarter cup of sugar if you are mad for sweet…

I wasn’t planning to blog this so I took no pictures. This is the last slice left 24 hours after it was baked. Went fast…definitely a keeper recipe! Next time I will snap a shot of the whole torte and some pictures of the process of making it.

almond torte slice3

Almond Torte – serves 6-8

Ingredients:

11 Tbsp. butter; melt it and let it cool to room temp. Plus a tsp. to butter the pan.

1 ½ cups almond meal plus a Tbsp. to coat the buttered pan

2/3 cup sweetened coconut, flaked

¼ tsp. sea salt

1 cup sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. almond extract

3 Tbsp. sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:

Place shelf in center of oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the 11 Tbsp. of butter and let it cool. I did that in my microwave. Butter (1 tsp butter) a 9 inch spring-form (8 will work too) on bottom and first inch and a half up the sides and then dust with almond meal; about a Tbsp of almond meal should do it.

Mix almond meal, coconut, sea salt in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl beat the eggs until frothy; add almond extract and vanilla extract. Add the cooled butter. Mix. Add to dry ingredients. Mix well with whisk. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top evenly. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Top should spring back lightly when touched, lightly browned. You can dust with powered sugar but I liked the look of it plain. Guessing it could be yummy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Cover to store leftovers; doubt they will last long. Enjoy!

Originally published in spring of 2019