Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake

...At least that is the short version of the title. The real title would be something like "shortcake pieces with macerated strawberries, rhubarb compote, and vanilla whipped cream". I thought the shortened version would be equally as appetizing. (I will get a better picture of this if I have any left later!) I have been so excited for rhubarb lately. I must confess, I have never actually had it! I know! I'm from the south and everything!

Anyway, I made this for a party I should be attending in an hour or so, and I am really looking forward to people's reactions to this. Even though there were a lot of steps to this recipe, it was entirely worth it and really not too laborious. I haven't had much time to cook lately, either (and have been living off the leftovers from graduation), so I found this really relaxing and enjoyable. Plus, there are so many variations one could apply to these recipes that you are bound to turn out with something good.

I will keep this short and sweet, I’m having too good of a time to sit in front of the computer right now, I hope you enjoy this recipe!


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (leveled carefully), plus more for dusting

1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar (used at separate times)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Rhubarb Compote

2 1/4 pounds rhubarb

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup water

3 strips (each 2 1/2 by 1/2 inch) orange zest

3 strips (each 2 1/2 by 1/2 inch) lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon course salt

Macerated Strawberries

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled (large berries like I used should be halved or quartered lengthwise)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Whipped Cream (I doubled the amounts you see here)

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Prepare the Shortcake:

Preheat the oven to 425. The recipe I used called for a food processor, and I only have a mini, so I used a combination of my kitchen aid and immersion blender. So just get this step done the best way you know how, even a fork would work in a pinch. Combine the flour, butter, salt, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Process until the mixture looks like a coarse meal. Add the milk, pulse your mixing apparatus four or five times, do not over do it, you just want it to be moist.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and with floured hands, shape it into 4 x 8 inch rectangle. This is a REALLY sticky dough so flouring your hands is important.

Dust a large knife with flour, I found this kind of difficult, maybe wetting it first next time would be the ticket. Cut the dough into 8 squares. Transfer the cakes to a baking sheet and sprinkle them with the remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden. I set my timer for 25 minutes and it was probably five minutes too long, so really keep an eye on these. I thought they were a little too hard so I grated off some of the burned parts and cut them up into quarters for serving.

Meanwhile, prepare the fruit:

Go ahead and stick the bowl you will be using for the whipped cream in the freezer or fridge.

For the macerated strawberries, all you need to do is hull them (meaning remove their stems and of course wash them) and cut them up to the size of your choice. I quartered mine lengthwise because they were so large. Then toss them with the sugar and lemon juice and leave them at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. How easy is that? The sugar draws out the berry's natural juices, and the lemon gives it a little extra kick. So simple, so tasty.

The rhubarb is a little more time consuming but so worth it. I was so excited about it! It gets a little dirtier than your average fruit so it's a good idea to wash it and wipe it down with a paper towel. Cut the rhubarb using a diagonal cut crosswise in one inch pieces.

Bring the sugar, water, zests, and salt to a boil in a large straight sided skillet, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rhubarb and stir to coat. It may look like there is not enough liquid to cover, but the fruit will release it's own juices as it is cooked. Cover, and cook on medium low heat until the rhubarb is just tender, you want it to hold it's shape. Mine took about seven or eight minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the compote to cool for one hour before you use it. Sugar gets ridiculously hot.

Finally, the whipped cream:

Growing up, I never worried about the bowl chilling, and still always had yummy whipped cream on thanksgiving, but I really think it cut my preparation time in half. Oh, having a snazzy green apple colored Kitchen Aid doesn't hurt either. I used the whisk attachment and it worked beautifully- so will an electric hand mixer, but with a stand mixer you can just walk away for a few minutes. Glorious. Beat the whipping cream until you get soft peaks, then gently ad the sugar and vanilla. You don't want to crush all those air bubbles you worked so hard for (or not). Return to whipping until the soft peaks form again.

Combine all the elements in whatever manner you see fit, my favorite was in a bowl sort of like a trifle. So good, and so pretty. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Birthday-pants Extraordinaire!

I know i have been on somewhat of a hiatus, and that makes me sad because I would love to be able to cook all the time! Those finals won't take themselves! Be back soon :)