Nothing says "summer" like a good old fashioned sloppy strawberry shortcake. Thick indulgent whipped cream, freshly-picked strawberries, and a flaky, buttery biscuit. I call dibs on seconds!
Can you make this from store-bought strawberries? Of course you can. But, if you have kids and if you have the time, it is well worth using just-picked fresh berries. One, it's a fun activity. Two, you're teaching your kids where real food comes from. (You do not want your kids to grow up thinking chocolate milk comes from brown cows.) And, three, you're helping your kids understand why eating "in-season" makes a difference.
The in-season thing is huge. Of course, there are tons of environmental and ecological reasons why, but the most important reason for you should be taste. Don't believe me? Buy a strawberry in December. How big is it? Huge would be my guess. Like freakishly large. Now cut it open. What color is the inside? I bet it is white. And crunchy. Compare that to the strawberry that you just picked in the field in early summer. It's not some behemoth of a berry... it might even seem small. Cut it open. It's red all the way through and juicy and soft. That's the real reason why eating in season matters. Not to get all hippy dippy, but food just tastes better when the Earth intended us to eat it.
"DIGRESSION!" (Sorry, Holden Caulfield.)
Back to these gluten-free strawberry shortcakes. You can make them big or bite-sized. I like bite-sized for parties... just use the top of a spice container to cut the rounds. If you're making them for a crowd, swap heavy cream for mascarpone and whip the mascarpone with a little sugar... you'll get bite-sized strawberry shortcakes that don't weep and fill your guests' tummies with sweet summer deliciousness.
I guess what I'm saying is that this strawberry shortcake recipe is The Jam. It's so good, you should try it with all your summer berries. Or, heck, even just plain with a cup of coffee in the morning. So, go forth, pick your berries in season, and enjoy.
Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcakes, (makes 8-12 cakes, depending on size)
- 3/4 cup millet flour
- 3/4 cup potato starch
- 1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1.5 tsps xanthan gum
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 3 TBSPs granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 TBSPs unsalted cold butter & 2 TBSP melted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- raw sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with silipat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the millet flour, potato starch, sweet sorghum flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt. Cut your 6 TBSPs of cold (it must be cold!) butter into dime-ish-sized cubes. I'm not sure of a better way to describe the size... don't stress too much over it. The point is not to cube up the butter into too small of pieces as you're about to make them smaller once they are added to the dry ingredients.
Which happens... now.
Using a pastry cutter (super-fun baking tool that I don't use enough!) cut your butter into the bowl of dry ingredients until the butter is about pea-sized. That's an easier size to picture, right? Try to do this semi-quickly, as the colder your butter is when the biscuits bake, the fluffier they'll end up. Add heavy cream to the bowl and stir to combine.
Dust your countertop with a little extra potato starch and plop your dough down on top. Knead it gently until the dough comes together in a smooth, pliable ball. Using a rolling pin (another fun baking tool I don't use enough!) roll your ball of dough out until it is 1/2"- 3/4" thick. I'll be honest, I have a really hard time with this. Do you have any tricks? Let me know. I always roll my dough too thin which is fine, it just means slimmer (and more) shortcakes.
Once your dough is rolled out, take the lid of a mason jar to cut 2-3" rounds. These are your shortcakes! Cut as many as you can before re-rolling the dough. Overworked dough warms the butter up and leads to a less fluffy end product.
Place shortcakes on your lined baking sheets, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with some raw sugar. Bake in the oven 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans half-way through and checking for doneness at 20 minutes. The shortcakes are done when they are golden brown.
Eat warm out of the oven, or let the shortcakes cool on a wire rack. Slice in half, top with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Remember you can add a little sugar to your sliced strawberries if they're not quite as sweet as you like. I usually don't add any sugar to my whipped cream and a little to my strawberries. It seems to balance the sweetness out.