A Perfect Summer treat: Strawberry Shortcake

Classic strawberry shortcake.
Classic strawberry shortcake.

Did you celebrate National Strawberry Shortcake Day on June 14th? If not, that’s okay because strawberries will be around for a bit longer. And what’s one of the best, most simple treats you can make with them? Shortcake, of course!

Shortcake is a biscuit and fruit dessert popular in the early 1600s. William Shakespeare used the name Alice Shortcake in “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” The earliest know recipe dates from 1588.

Basically, a shortcake is a sweet biscuit, an American-style biscuit, not a cookie. Biscuits from scratch are very easy to do. But first, we have to prepare the strawberries.

Fresh strawberries.

I like to work at the sink where my trimmings can go right into the garbage disposal. If you don’t have one of those, just have a plastic bag in a bowl for your trimmings. Bring out a larger bowl, like a mixing bowl, to put your finished strawberries. I keep the cold water running lightly as I remove a strawberry from the box and grab a paring knife. I trim off the green top and a little of the bitter white flesh underneath. Also, I trim off any bad spots and rinse the berry under the running water. Then, working over the mixing bowl, I slice the strawberry into somewhat thin slices, about five of six to a berry. Repeat the process until all have been cleaned and cut. Next, add a tablespoon or two of regular table sugar and stir until all the berries are coated and the sugar is dissolved, but be gentle.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let them sit in the refrigerator while you prepare the shortcakes.

Fancy Strawberry Shortcake.
Fancy Strawberry Shortcake.

You can use my favorite biscuit recipe for Fluffy Biscuits, but add about twice as much sugar as you usually would. Cut and bake the biscuits with a sprinkling of sugar on the tops before you bake them. In about ten minutes, they are done and ready to remove from the oven and cool. Let them cool completely before you use them.

A whipped cream topping is another great part of this dessert. If you buy the frozen stuff, make sure you thaw before you need it. In a bowl or small plate, cut a biscuit in half and place it on the bottom of the dish. Then spoon the strawberries, with some of the juice, over the biscuit. Top generously with the whipped cream. And enjoy.