My friends tease me that I was born with a whisk in one hand and a rolling pin in the other. From the time I was 5 years old I begged my Mom to teach me how to cook. I haunted her kitchen – she had no choice but to make me her little sous chef de cuisine! I loved my Dad’s vegetable garden, the raspberry bushes, his fruit trees, the grapevines and even the compost pile in the corner of the backyard that grew the largest and best squash! This early passion for baking and cooking, using fresh organic produce and healthy ingredients, remains to this day.
Our family always looked forward to June – Dad’s Birthday was the first week, and this also meant the strawberries were ripe! Dad would load all of the kids into the station wagon and we take a short ride from Wethersfield down the Connecticut River Valley to the local strawberry farm. After several hours of filling our baskets, the kids would collapse into the back seat of the car and we would head for home, sunburned, tired, and with clothes and hands stained bright strawberry red. And of course, we insisted that we have Strawberry Shortcake that night for dessert before helping Mom make Strawberry Jam the next day.
In honor of Father’s Day and one of my Dad’s favorite desserts, here is our family recipe for Shortcake Biscuits. It’s quick and easy to make, and the warm flaky shortcake biscuits just call out for fresh seasonal strawberries, whipped cream and a big glass of icy-cold milk.
(Serves 6) – 400º F
- 2 Cups sifted white unbleached All Purpose Flour
- 4 Teaspoons baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons White Sugar (I use Bakers superfine sugar)
- 1 Large Egg
- ½ Cup unsalted cold butter
- ½ Cup whole milk
1. Mix dry ingredients together into medium mixing bowl.
2. Whisk egg and milk together in a separate bowl. Set aside.
3. Cut butter into very small pieces, and add to dry ingredients. Blend with pastry cutter, and then mix with your fingers, rolling pieces of butter into the flour. Do this quickly to keep the butter cold.
4. Add egg/milk mixture to dry ingredients and stir together with a fork. The batter will be a bit sticky.
5. Pour shortcake mixture onto lightly floured pastry cloth or floured marble rolling surface. Dust with a sprinkle of flour, and knead gently a couple of times into a round ball. Roll out to a ½ inch thickness. Flour bottom of biscuit cutter (I use a 2 inch diameter cutter, but have been known to make Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear sizes!) and cut out biscuits.
6. Place biscuits onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart. Put another biscuit round on top of the first, so you have two rounds to make one biscuit.
7. Brush a little milk on top of each biscuit with pastry brush. I sprinkle the tops with a little sparkling sugar for garnish.
8. Bake on middle shelf in pre-heated oven (I do not use my convection oven) for 12 – 18 minutes (depending on size of biscuits) or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
Serve with fresh sliced strawberries between the biscuits, and on top of the biscuit, with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream. Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Enjoy !
– Lynn Kathleen Adams
– RSCA Board Member since 1994