Over a Cup of Coffee: Strawberry Shortcake for an Easter treat

Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

Strawberry Shortcake

• 1 quart fresh strawberries

• 3 teaspoons baking powder

• 1 cup sugar (for the strawberries)

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 2 cups sifted flour

• 1/3 cup shortening

• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 1 cup milk

• A little butter (for "dotting" the batter)

First, prepare the berries by washing them and then removing the stems and hulls. Add the cup of sugar and let stand at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease two round pans that are about 8x1 1/2 inches. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add sugar. Cut in the shortening. Stir in milk, just until blended. Spread dough in the pans and dot with butter. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until medium brown. Place one layer, upside down, on a plate. Cover with strawberries. Put the other layer, right side up, on top. Cover with more berries. Serve warm with plain or whipped cream or whipped topping.

This morning, as I write "Over a Cup of Coffee," the snowy scene outside is anything but Easter-like. Even the robin that's perched on a branch of the crabapple tree looks puzzled. But my thoughts are on Easter dinner anyway.

I usually serve strawberries over slices of yellow cake for dessert on Easter. But this year, I'm thinking of making strawberry shortcake from scratch. It's the shortcake that's biscuit-like in consistency. The recipe comes from my cookbook without a cover.

To make Strawberry Shortcake, you'll need: 1 quart of fresh strawberries, 1 cup sugar (for the strawberries), 2 cups sifted flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup shortening, 1 cup milk and a little butter (for "dotting" the top of the batter).

First, prepare the berries by washing them and removing the stems and hulls. Add about 1 cup of sugar and let stand at room temperature. (This recipe calls for whole strawberries, but I think you could also slice the berries. Leave a few whole to place around the finished cake.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease two round cake pans that are about 8x1 1/2 inches.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Add the sugar. Cut in the shortening. Stir in milk just until it is blended. Then spread the dough in a prepared pan and "dot" with butter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until medium brown. (For another option, see the starred paragraph below.)

Place one layer, upside down, on a pretty plate. Cover with sugared strawberries. Put the other layer, right side up, on top. Cover with more berries. Serve warm with plain or whipped cream or whipped topping.

Or, you can spread all of the dough in one 8-layer pan (instead of two), "dot" with butter, and bake 15 to 20 minutes. Split the baked shortcake in half, crosswise, while it's still hot. This shortcake will be less crusty than baking the two layers separately. Spread the first layer with butter, fill with berries, cover with the other layer, and add more berries.

The shortcake is a little like biscuits, and you can use a biscuit recipe to make little (individual) cakes, but you'll need to add 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar to the ingredients. Or, for quick individual shortcakes, use one of the brands of baking mixes that you can purchase at the grocery store. Follow the directions for making little shortcakes.

Cut each little shortcake into halves. Put one half in a serving dish. Add strawberries (sliced work best). Put the other shortcake half on top. Add more berries.

Do you have a favorite recipe for strawberry shortcake? Call me at 824-8809 or write to me at Box 415, Craig 81626.

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