This time of year, I get the urge to make an old-fashioned strawberry shortcake. It's a dessert that showcases our luscious local berries.
Here's a no-frills version, courtesy of the California Strawberry Commission. For other ideas on how to use fresh berries, go to the commission's website, california-strawberries.com.
CLASSIC STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional sugar as needed
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
2 pint baskets fresh strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1 cup whipped cream (recipe follows)
Makes 6 servings
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Cut in butter until dough has consistency of coarse meal.
In a small bowl, blend milk and 2 egg yolks with fork. Stir into flour mixture to make a soft dough. Divide dough into 6 portions; form each portion into a ball.
Pat balls out on greased baking sheet, and gently flatten into 3-inch circles. Brush top of dough with egg whites; sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Bake in 450-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until crust is golden. Remove to rack and let cool.
Sweeten strawberries with sugar to taste (very ripe berries shouldn't need much sweetening).
Halve cakes horizontally. On plates, fill middle of cakes with strawberries; top with more strawberries and a generous dollop of whipped cream.
Per serving: 568 calories; 9g protein; 33g fat; 60g carbohydrate; 168mg cholesterol
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Pour cream into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat cream until peaks begin to form, then mix in vanilla and sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until serving.
Chris Ross writes for The San Diego Union-Tribune.