12.7.11

strawberry rhubarb shortcake

This July 4th, I went to my friend Anna's lakehouse in Maine.
It's a good place. 

I went fishing for the first time! It was fun. I did not
catch anything, but as you can see, Anna certainly did.
July Fourth cocktails: Watermelon, strawberry, blackberry, pineapple
juice, ice, vodka and Malibu.
 The best lobster I've ever had...
And, a surprise visit with my other friend, Dora! 
It's so funny. I met Anna in Israel, and I met Dora in Italy.
And here they both are now in Maine, living a half hour
from each other.
I love when faraway worlds collide.  
Fireworks over the lake...
There are dozens of pink rhubarb plants in the 
lush wooded area by the lakehouse.
I picked some and brought them home with me.
Anna also bestowed me with loads of bags filled
with frozen blueberries and chopped rhubard.
It's fantastic, and perfect for baking. So...
expect quite a few rhubarb or
blueberry filled baked goods in the near
future...
Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake
I think I will always eat this instead of strawberry shortcake from now on. 
I love rhubarb... 
The recipe for the biscuits comes from the best cookbook ever; The Gourmet Cookbook. 
You may notice that the biscuit recipe has no butter in it. This actually
means that it is technically NOT shortcake, since the "short" implies 
that it's made with butter. However, these cream biscuits are 
absolutely delightful, a breeze to make, and still produces
a great "shortcake" so I have no problem with that. I mean,
when has Ruth Reichl ever led me astray? 

Ingredients
For the cream biscuits:
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream 

And the rest..
6 stalks of rhubarb, chopped
1/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch or two more
1/2 of a lemon
10 strawberries, hulled and quartered
About a cup or so of heavy cream
A splash of vanilla extract, or, even better, the scrapings of one vanilla bean...mmm

Preparation
First, begin the biscuits. Preheat your oven to 425f/220c.  Butter a baking sheet.
Sift your flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl.  Slowly add your cream and gently work together just until you've formed  soft dough. The trick with these biscuits is to work the dough as little as possible, otherwise the texture will be completely off and you'll be disappointed. 
Get your dough into a ball. Again, use the lightest touch possible.
Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough six times. Yes, six. 
Using your fingertips, spread the dough so it's about 1/2 inch thick. 
Lightly flour the rim on a glass and use that to cut rounds from the dough. When you've run out of space, gather the dough again and repeat. You should have about 8 biscuits. 
Brush the tops with some cream and pop into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. 
Transfer to a cooling rack and move on to your topping!
In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup sugar, rhubarb, and the juice from a wedge or two of lemon. Keep over medium/low heat, stirring occasionally, until liquidy and jamlike. Remove from heat and let cool.
In another bowl, crush your strawberries with a fork. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sugar. Then, stir in your rhubarb. Let sit for a bit.
Finally, in a large bowl, combine cream, a pinch of sugar, and vanilla. Get either an electric mixer (heaps easier) or a whisk, and whip it up! 

To serve, cut a biscuit in half, and top with your fruit and cream. Replace top like a sandwich. 
 

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