June is for Strawberry Shortcake

Ripe and ruby red, they don't get better than Frog Holler Farm's transcendent berries. In my family, it is traditional to have strawberry shortcake as the main course  for dinner at least once and preferably several times during the evanescent strawberry season. The reason for having it as the main course is so that you can eat a huge bowl of it and not feel guilty.  We had it tonight for dinner and it was wondeful. 

Our shortcake is actually a fluffy biscuit; no sissified cake or little yellow hockey pucks in our family.  The traditional version is called Cloud Biscuits made with Crisco. Recently, I have been making a different biscuit with all butter from Cook's Illustrated. I like this biscuit quite a bit, partly because I put a teaspoon of cardamom in it.  

Here's how my mother makes strawberry shortcake: bake a pan of Cloud Biscuits, make whipped cream (real whipped cream of course), and lightly sugar and mash a couple of quarts of strawberries. When the biscuits are out of the oven and still hot, split and thickly butter. Everything is better with butter in Mom's opinion. Put buttered biscuit in a bowl, cover with a generous layer of strawberries, and a large spoonful of whipped cream. Dig in with a spoon. 

For the first time this year I made strawberry-rhubarb shortcake early in the season when rhubarb was plentiful and the strawberries were just coming in. This was excellent! I have found that a small amount of orange flower water added to the berries and/or rhubarb adds a little something that is hard to pin down but absolutely delicious. I think it heightens the floral quality of the fruit in a way that makes your tongue sit up and take notice. 

Cloud Biscuits

Cardamom Biscuits

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce

Whipped Cream

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