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Did you have a job picking local strawberries when you were a teenager? I am pretty sure that if you lived in a fairly rural location you probably did. Local strawberry growers depended on teens hungry for extra money back in the day! I did it for a few weeks every summer for a couple of years. It was a back breaking labour spending the day crouched low to the ground and in hot sun. You picked long and hard for a few dollars a day, but we were grateful for the work. The farmers would actually send a truck to pick you up and take you to the strawberry fields.
I wonder if teens still pick berries for money? Or do our farmers have to rely on immigrants. I don’t know. You would have thought all that picking would have soured my taste for berries, but nope. I adore strawberries above all other berries. I don’t think there is a way I could ever not like them, and here in the UK we grow some of the best.
One thing we all really loved during strawberry season every year was when my mom would make us Strawberry shortcakes for dessert. Mom’s strawberry shortcake was the highlight of strawberry season! You can find that recipe here.
I remember one year we happened to be travelling in the states and we visited my mother’s Uncle Arnold in Connecticut. They had chickens in their garden which we delighted in being able to feed and we had a lovely dinner with them, complete with Strawberry Shortcake for dessert! Strawberry shortcake during berry season is a Maritime/New England tradition!
This Strawberry Shortcake Recipe I am sharing with you today differs a bit from the usual recipe in that rather than plain cream biscuits it uses a nut swirled biscuit! I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Yankee Magazine site. The original recipe was for Pistachio Swirl Strawberry Shortcakes.
I didn’t have pistachio nuts, but I did have plenty of pecans, so I used them in their place. Just look at that lovely nut swirl in the biscuit! It adds a lovely touch and another level of flavour.
The biscuit dough itself is also a tad bit different. Cream biscuits but with some cornmeal (polenta) added for an extra bit of crispness! They bake up nice and short and flaky!
Biscuits made with cream are simply lovely. Please be aware, I am not meaning biscuit in the British sense here! These are not cookies. These are scone-like, North American Style Biscuits, and they are gorgeous!
We grow our own strawberries in our garden. They come in dribs and drabs, however, and I usually have to augment them with store bought berries if I am making something like this. I am never able to pick enough at any one time.
Our berries are a lot smaller and sweeter than the store ones, but altogether they make for a pretty delicious combination!
The berries are only lightly sweetened. When you have really good berries, you don’t need to over sweeten them. The strawberry flavours shine through beautifully!
You can sweeten the whipped cream as well. I don’t because I am a diabetic and I figure there is enough sweetness in the berries and those biscuits. The British normally don’t sweeten their cream anyways and I have gotten quite used to that.
At first I thought it was a bit strange, but I actually prefer it that way now!
Don’t overwork your biscuit dough. The single greatest cause of tough biscuits is overworking the dough. Just stir everything together and then pat it out lightly to a rectangle. The filling is very easy to make as well, but you will need a food processor or blender of some sort to blitz the nuts and sugar together to combine.
A bit of butter goes into the mix, and then you spread this filling onto the patted out biscuit dough. Roll it up, cut it into slices and bang! You have nut swirls biscuits ready to bake into deliciousness!
Crisp, short and crumbly, perfect for this dessert . . . cut in half once cold, and then layered with sliced berries and the whipped cream.
You owe it to yourself to try this version of shortcake at least once during this strawberry season. Trust me on this!
A fresh spin on an old classic, with crisp cream biscuits swirled with a sweet pecan swirl, and filled with fresh ripe strawberries and whipped cream.
For the biscuits:
140g plain flour (1 cup)
115g cornmeal (2/3 cup)
1 1/2 TBS granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
240ml double cream (1 cup heavy cream)
For the pecan swirl:
90g raw shelled and toasted pecan nuts (90g)
1 1/2 TBS granulated sugar
2 TBS butter, at room temperature
You will also need:
50g granulated sugar
2 pounds strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
300ml double cream (1 1/4 cups)
2 TBS icing sugar
icing sugar to dust
First make the biscuits. Preheat the oven to 190*C/376*F/ gas mark 5. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Set aside.
Measure the flour, corn meal, sugar. baking powder, and salt and give it a good whisk to combine. Add the cream and stir it togehr with a spatula until you get a soft dough. Set aside.
To make the filling, put the nuts into a small food processor with the sugar and pulse until finely ground combindwith some larger pieces. Add the butter and pulse again to combine.
Pat the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12 by 9 -inch rectangle with the long edge facing you. Spread the pecan filling over this to within 1 inch of the top edge, spreading it out evenly. Roll up tightly from the long edge like a jelly roll. Cut the roll into 8 equal slices. Place, evenly spaced and leaving plenty of room around them for expanding, on the prepared baking sheet. Press lightly to flatten just a tiny bit.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Scoop off onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before proceeding.
Mix your berries with the granulated sugar and let sit for about 10 minutes to macerate.
Whip the cream together with the icing sugar until it forms soft peaks.
To serve, carefully slice the biscuits in half through the centre. Place the bottoms onto serving plates. Top with a portion of berries, a dollop of whipped cream and the biscuit tops. Dust lightly with icing sugar and serve immediately.
What is your favourite way to enjoy Strawberries during the season?? I love a good strawberry pie and of course I could just sit and eat them out of hand. I remember one time when we were visiting my in-laws when my children were growing up, they ate so many berries that my FIL told them that when we went to wake them in the morning there would be nothing but big fat strawberries laying in their beds! OH but that didn’t half give them a thrill!
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