This past weekend was Swedish Midsommar, and nothing rings in the solstice like a sweet strawberry shortcake. A number of years ago now, my cousin, Sara Aasum Hultberg actually won Sweden's top pastry chef with a strawberry shortcake being in her competition. We actually had rather an amusing story, in pastry school Sara specialized in chocolate and I went to a chocolate school in Canada, where I graduated with honours. After graduating, I was looking to start my own shoppe with the name Fika Chocolates, where after a bit of research, I found it already existed in NYC and Sara was moving there to work for them. I found a new name and continued for a number of years creating chocolate truffles, bon bons and swedish pastries; particularly strawberry shortcakes.
June seems to have a touch of urgency with day plans scribed and penciled in flush against the next, extra chores inside and out preparing for the season to come which will soon lead into autumn. Gardens are lush and full of early season harvests, ready for jamming, canning or in this case a perfect individual midsommar strawberry shortcake. I made a batch this weekend to celebrate at a surprise party I threw my younger sister.
STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES --Adapted Canadian Living Recipe
I N G R E D I E N T S
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
3/4 cups sifted cake and pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups sliced Strawberries from the garden or bought
1. In saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium heat until melted. Stir in rind. Keep warm. In bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Separate 3 of the eggs, reserving yolks. In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the sugar, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, until soft peaks form.
2. In separate bowl, beat together egg yolks, remaining eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes or until light coloured and thick enough that batter leaves ribbons on surface for 3 seconds when beaters are lifted.
3. Working from centre to edge with rubber spatula, fold whites into yolk mixture until combined. Sift dry ingredients over top; fold in until combined. Make well in centre; pour in milk mixture and fold in.
4. Spread batter in 15- x 11-inch (40 x 25 cm) rimmed parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven for about 12 minutes or until golden and cake springs back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack.
5. Filling: In bowl, whip cream with sugar and vanilla. Cut cake crosswise into small cubes or rip apart with fingers. Put a dollop in the bottom of the jar and place several pieces of short cake on top. Dice strawberries into small even cubes and place spoonful on top and finish with another dollop of whip cream.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Enjoy the fruits of your harvest