Tuesday, June 8, 2010

{TWD} Strawberry Shortcake and Friends

Friends, Part 1

The minute that I learned that this week's recipe assignment for the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group was Tender Shortcakes, I was transported back to my childhood and the countless hours I spent with my friends skipping rope. Here is one of the jump rope songs we sang:
Strawberry shortcake, cream on top.
Tell me the name of your sweetheart?
Is it .......
[.....continue listing random names until the person jumping misses, and that is deemed to be the sweetheart's name]
To match the jump rope rhyme - and because I had fabulous berries in my farm box - I knew I had to make classic strawberry, although in my opinion almost any fruit and/or berry makes a fabulous pairing with shortcakes and "cream on top."

Friends, Part 2

Speaking of friends, until I began blogging two summers ago, I thought the concept of "online friends" was a little odd. But I found that my online baking groups are communities, and discovered some kindred spirits who have become actual buddies, partners in flour and sugar. Cathy, of the blog The Tortefeasor, is one of my favorite baker/bloggers. Despite a few (ahem) years difference in our ages, we discovered that we shared a lot in common in our backgrounds and interests. Cathy's posts never fail to make me laugh, even as I identify with her baking ups and downs (mostly ups these days - two years of weekly baking breeds a reassuring level of ability) The Tender Shortcakes are Cathy's pick and I am honored to bake them along with her!

Friends, Part 3

I enjoyed this dessert with the members of my book group. We started as acquaintances, and over nearly 5 years of twice-monthly meetings, we have become close friends who have shared in each other's lives as we share discussions of the books we read together. The group members have graciously served as recipe tasters for many of the Tuesdays With Dorie sweets that I bake, and they provide valuable feedback.


n.o.e.'s notes:

- To get the recipe for Tender Shortcakes, check out Cathy's post.

- I made 2/3 recipe and the math was simple!

- The recipe was easy to put together, and I followed it exactly as written, although Dorie gives great playing around options for the shortcakes and the filling, This time I wanted the classic. Well, truth be told, I did add a tiny pinch of cardamom to the dry ingredients.

- I was low on unsalted butter, so I used salted butter and cut the salt in the dry ingredients a bit.

- My shortcakes were much smaller than specified in the recipe, but they were still an average shortcake size. I think I ended up with a dozen or more.

- I'm pretty sure I did something not quite right because mine were lumpy and didn't rise very much as they baked. The directions said to split them before topping with berries and whipped cream, but mine were so flat - and crumbly - that there was no feasible way that I could have split them. I was a little distressed that I couldn't serve them as specified, but we just piled the berries and the cream on the plate with the shortcake and that was it.

C takes her first taste of the Tender Shortcake!
the verdict:

My book group assured me that there was no reason to fret about un-split crumbly shortcakes - these were delicious! More than one group member ate more than one shortcake. JT had both of his shortcakes topped only with whipped cream, explaining that they were perfect so there was no need for berries! His wife, AT, loved the shortcakes, especially since they reminded her of shortcakes that she'd enjoyed as a child. Our host couple's daughter C agreed to demonstrate her reaction for the camera (see pictures, above and below).

We split up the leftover shortcakes, and my husband enjoyed them for dessert. It was a sad day indeed when he asked "do we have any more of those shortcakes?" and my answer was "no"...

Many thanks to my friend Cathy for choosing a classic recipe - and a delicious version at that - that is perfect for sharing with friends.

C delivers the verdict!

20 comments:

bellini valli said...

Strawberry shortcake is usually the very first dessert I make dueing the season. It is definitely the best in my opinion.

Leslie said...

What a sweet post, Nancy! My dough ended up a bit crumbly (I made 1/6th of the recipe), so I added additional cream until I "thought" they were the right consistency. I really had no idea what the right consistency was but I figured wetter was better than dryer. That seemed to do the trick. Your shortcakes (and the reaction of your tester) look great.

Judy said...

Books, whipped cream, and shortcake sound like a great combination to me. Your shortcakes look lovely.

Audrey said...

Yay for shortcakes (crumbly or otherwise), and especially, yay for friends (online or otherwise)!

Helen Young said...

Yes indeed, these were delicious! We kept some of the leftovers and my children ate them for breakfast. I'm part of the book club group that Nancy mentions and we are so lucky to have Nancy bake for us twice a month. She has become an extraordinary baker and dessert chef!

dharmagirl said...

hooray for strawberry shortcakes and all kinds of friends. both bring so much delight:) my biscuits were a little flat and lumpy too, but i have plenty of reasons for that!

AmyRuth said...

Hi Nancy,
Ya know....couldn't have been a more timely, classic dessert in my book. I love your jump rope remembrance. That brings me back for sure. I halved the recipe and still came out with 7- 1/3 cup portions. Overnight I froze 5, baked and took them to work the next morning. "These take me back home," was one of the comments to the recipe. Ya gotta love the thumbs up photo. Your cakes look amazing. Perfectly "shortcake-ish!" Nicely, done.
AmyRuth

Peggy said...

I'm just itching to make these! Nancy I always love checking out your blog and seeing how you mathmatically baked this week! Your shortcakes look delicious.

Nancy said...

Your shortcakes look heavenly! I have to admit, I have only had those spongey round things they sell in the grocery stores for shortcake!! I know! It's outrageous, isn't it? I will have to try these out with such wonderful recommendations from your tasters!

Barbara said...

I think crumbly shortcakes are perfect. My mother's recipe is exactly like that. It's what the short in shortcake means!
This is such a lovely post, Nancy. And what an adorable photo of your taste tester!

Engineer Baker said...

That was the worst part for me as well - what, no more shortcakes?! My fiance still finds "online friends" a bit weird, but it's pretty cool, isn't it? Lovely shortcakes, even if they were shorter than you expected :)

Cathy said...

Cheers to shortcakes and friends!! Online friendship was a foreign concept to me before TWD, but when you think about it, there is the built-in "common interest" factor in a group like TWD, so it only makes sense that real friendships would be born from TWD! Plus, we've met in real life, so I consider you to be a real-life friend now. And I have you to thank for making these before I did and reassuring me that the shortcakes were delicious when I was still fretting about my pick. Your shortcakes are beautiful, and I am so glad they were a hit with your book group! I always trust children to be honest, and C's sweet, happy face does not lie - those were some great shortcakes you made there. Thank you for baking with me this week, my friend!

Jess said...

Great pictures - and fantastic-looking shortcakes. You have a very lucky book club!

Di said...

Definitely looks like these were a hit. =) Brianna and Gillian loved them too. I think the shortcakes were supposed to be pretty "rustic," so yours look fine to me. =)

Tracey said...

Wonderful post Nancy :) My shortcakes were sort of lumpy and didn't rise much either so if you did something wrong, so did I! I really, really enjoyed these - so much I ate most of mine plain, which is saying a lot because I love strawberries and whipped cream. Great shots of your taste tester!

mike said...

High and light, low and crumbly - it all tastes good! I think the secret is the recipe - and whatever you top it with makes it delicious (judging by the "taste tester")! Looks wonderful - and wonderful story of friendship as well!

Lady Baker said...

The photo of "C" says it all!
Friends, Books, Shortcake...best of the best! :)

Kayte said...

What a beautiful little taste tester you have there...she looks absolutely delighted with her treat. Your shortcakes look so cute all lined up...really pretty. This was a great recipe, definitely a repeat around here. Thanks for the encouragement when I was waffling as to whether I wanted to make these or not...thought they might be too "biscuity" but they were not, more like a butter cookie instead.

TeaLady said...

cardamom would be good in these. they look perfect.

Funny the things we remember from Childhood. Jump rope rhymes were always fun.

natalia said...

Ciao ! Lovely tester !!