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Mini strawberry-rhubarb shortcake

May 25, 2010

Those strawberries I mentioned?  Remember those?  Yeah . . . well, it’s been hot and sunny lately and the bam!  Bright red berries under their green, leafy umbrellas.

I picked, literally, a handful of berries.  Add to that a handful (hand span, perhaps?) of rhubarb (enough stalks to comfortably wrap my hand around, that is), a couple of tiny biscuits, and  a dollop of yogurt.  And there you have my mini strawberry rhubarb shortcake!

Sweet biscuit-y shortcake, based (heavily) on Judith & Evan Jones’ Buttermilk Biscuits in The Book of Bread (page 244):

  • 1 Cup white flour
  • 1 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cold
  • 1/4 Cup whole fat, plain yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup milk (any fat percentage will work–I used reconstituted powdered milk, leftover from pancakes)

Mix flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Mix yogurt and milk; set aside.  Cut butter into small pieces (I recommend using either a large sharp knife on a cutting board (and swift strokes) or two butter knives–and NO HANDS) and add to flour mix.  Grabbing quick double handfuls, squeeze the butter and flour.  Working quickly–you don’t want the butter melting.  You don’t have to squish every last bit of butter; 5 – 10 squeezes should do the trick.  Add yogurt/milk mix & press it in with a fork until you’ve got a dough, more or less.  Knead the dough briefly–no more than 30 seconds.

Roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick on either a floured surface or silicone baking mat.  Use a round cookie cutter (1 1/2 or 2 inches work well) to cut out biscuits.  Place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking tray & immediately bake in an oven preheated to 450F for 10-12 minutes, or until tops are barely golden.  Gather the remaining dough into a ball & press into a rough circle, less than an inch thick.  Using a butter knife, divide the circle into 8 triangles (half, half, and half again).  Transfer the triangles to another ungreased sheet and pop ’em in the same oven.  They’ll likely be done just after the first ones, even if you do have to use the lower rack for them!

While your mini shortcake bakes, throw your berries and rhubarb with some sugar and butter.

Strawberry-rhubarb compote:

  • 1 handful strawberries (about a dozen berries), quartered
  • 1 fistful rhubarb (about 8 long, slender stalks), cut into 1/2 or 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 dash of salt
  • sugar to taste (I used around 1/4 Cup, maybe a little less)

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Add rhubarb, salt and sugar.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, less than five minutes.  Remove from head & stir in strawberries.  As I only had a few berries and rhubarb stalks, I only made a little.  This can easily be scaled up to feed the dessert-hungry masses.

Now you should have some hot, fluffy, flaky biscuits, hot sweet ‘n tart fruit, and some tangy leftover yogurt.  Split a shortcake in half, spoon on strawberry-rhubarb compote onto the bottom, close up the top and serve with a dollop of yogurt beside.  Or serve with whipped cream, if you must, but don’t sweeten it–or not much–and certainly don’t use that nasty stuff in a can.

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