Scout'sGripe Page, Part IV
What!?!? Another "What' the Deal?" page? Yes, my friend, I'll keep putting them up...even if nobody reads them. And trust me, it's damn hard to type with four toes.
You may have already picked up that I live in North Carolina. My human companion hasn't always lived here, though. He's actually a Yankee by birth. (And I mean a real Yankee, not one of those lukewarm "just south of the Mason-Dixon Line" Yankees.) Thankfully, he moved to North Carolina about twenty years ago. Yes, sir, twenty years of delicious barbecue, fried chicken, biscuits.......OK, now my attention is starting to wander, but you get the idea.
Unfortunately, according to him, there's one item that just doesn't seem to exist around here. Maybe it did at one time and they've simply forgotten how to make it. He's talking, of course, of that most delicious Springtime treat. Its unfortunate absence from Southern tables leads me to ask...
What's the deal with strawberry shortcake?
"But, Scout, we have strawberry shortcake here in the South!" you say in protest. Well, maybe you do, but he hasn't seen it. He's seen strawberry sponge cake and strawberry pound cake, but not strawberry shortcake.
He says that you simply can't adequately enjoy strawberries and whipped cream on a disc-shaped piece of Twinkie. It soaks up all the juice and is very difficult to warm up prior to preparation. Neither can you enjoy it on a wedge of dense pound cake (even an eight-egg cake). The pound cake just doesn't have the right consistency and texture.
No, you have to put your strawberries on genuine shortcake. Hot shortcake has that delicious crumbly texture and hint of sweetness that perfectly complements the fruit. Split a shortcake, spread a little butter on it, and you have a perfect platform for all sorts of Springtime delights. (Just make sure you don't cheap out and use anything other than real whipped cream!)
So, as a public service, I'm going to share his mother's shortcake recipe with you. You can experiment a little with it, but please avoid the temptation to convert it into an overly-sweet cake-like confection. The recipe is almost identical to that for biscuits and they should look like big drop biscuits. OK, here we go:
2 cups sifted flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. shortening (solid vegetable)
2/3 - 3/4 cup milk
Combine dry ingredients. Work in shortening with fingers or pastry knives. Stir in enough milk to make soft dough. Drop by spoonsful onto greased baking sheet (keep close together.) Bake at 425° 12 to 15 minutes (until browned and cooked through.) Immediately split, spread with butter, top with sweetened chopped strawberries and real whipped cream.
Never whipped cream before? It's easy! Just remember to chill the bowl and beaters before you start. Add a little vanilla and sugar to the whipped cream (adjust to taste.) TA-TAAA!! Enjoy!!
Anyway, help my boss out and insist on real shortcake anytime you're offered a substitute. We can whip this problem, y'all.
That's all I have for now. Check back at my Gripe Pages for more!
That's all I have for now.
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