Strawberry Cuteness

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As a child, I went to school with two girls who were sisters (one of which incidentally shared my name, something I’ve never encountered again), and whose mother was intent on delivering their every fantasy and protecting them from every evil. To her, that meant that the girls wore lacey white socks and mary-janes with a tiny heel (a heel, imagine my envy dismay) and had access to all the girly toys a girl in the eighties could want: barbies, my little pony, every single hello kitty accessory ever dreamt of, care bears (get to the point already!) and the smelliest bestest of them all: strawberry shortcake. She (strawberry) was cool, because she smelled of strawberries and basically had no real back story as far as I remember expect for being cute and pink, and well, smelly.

In french however, this particular character was called charlotte aux fraises (hum, don’t even think that I would waste my time colouring things on the internet ahem-cough-cough) , which is a completely different dessert and my mentioning it serves no other purpose than showing of my mad language skillz and popculture chops.

So, strawberry shortcake has until today, been something I’ve always wondered about the reality of. And after today, i’m even more confused, to tell you the truth. The shortcakes were really very good, quick to make and the strawberries and greek yoghurt I piled on top worked really well, but… I totally don’t get what the difference is between a shortcake and a scone. The ingredients, you see, were pretty much the same that I use for making scones (recipe here), and aside from the fact that the shortcakes didn’t rise as much as I expected, they tasted just as delicious as those scones do. But they’re shortcakes. Is there another difference besides the fact, that they are served with whipped and not clotted cream, and with fresh strawberries instead of jam? What gives people? Can someone explain?

Delicious, albeit puzzling Strawberry Shortcakes

From Cynthia Barcomi’s Kochbuch für Feste

prep time: 10 min total, baking time: 10-12 min
Mixing bowl, baking sheet

280 g flour
1 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
75 g of cold butter, cut in pieces
180 g cold cream*

Preheat your oven to 225°C. Stir together the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl. Add the cut-up butter and work it in with your fingertips until the mixture ressembles coarse crumbs (you could also put this togther in a mixing machine fitted with a steelblade). Add the cold cream and mix until just combined. Don’t overwork the dough, otherwise it will be all tough (and won’t rise properly ahem).

Pat the dough down on a floured surface and cut circles (or flowers or hearts or any cute shape you want) with a glass or cookie cutter.** Put your pretty shapes on a baking sheet with baking paper and bake for 10-12 min or until golden.

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To serve, slice the shortcakes in half and fill with whipped cream and slightly sugared strawberries.

Edited to add: I’ve just realised that Cynthia has posted this exact recipe on her website! go check hers out, they are way more pretty!

* The recipe called for a tsp of salt, but because I like to use salted butter in my baking, I omitted it entirely.

**Try and use up as much dough as possible the first time, reworked dough doesn’t look as pretty and won’t rise as much.

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4 Responses to “Strawberry Cuteness”

  1. jbj Says:

    aprés les photos vertes les géniales photos rouges, j’adore!

  2. Cynthia Says:

    Hi M
    Scones are English and Shortcake is American, that’s one difference. Their make up is basically the same: both are (or should be) flakey, buttery and rather rich. Shortcake can be baked as one, big unit (and cut up into serving portions) or as small individual units. Scones, I believe, would never be baked as a huge unit and then cut into pieces, except for Irish Soda Bread (which can be baked as both). Please tell me I am not confusing you even more!
    We don’t have clotted cream in the States hence the whipped cream. Strawberry Shortcake is really the celebration of springtime: spring has sprung, so let`s make up some strawberry shortcake!
    xxx Cyn

  3. Marguerite Says:

    AH! Thanks for the clarification Cynthia! I had a feeling the difference was mainly national, and I’m now wishing for clotted cream to make with scones this weekend! An yes, let’s celebrate spring, this winter did feel like it lasted forever….

  4. Dani Says:

    From the late fifties to the eighties, strawberry shortcake in many middle-class American homes consisted of sweetened mashed (not sliced) strawberries, Reddi-Whip (whipped cream in a can), and store-bought 4-inch round sponge-type cakes (kind of like Twinkies without the filling.)

    It all sounds disgusting now, but back then anything that you could purchase premade was considered a treat. Especially in the 50′s and 60′s, it was expected that meals be made from scratch. My mother did not view her cooking skills as the talent that they were until she was in her eighties.

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