Cooking With Cassie: Strawberries and Cream Shortcakes

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I look at cooking the same way I look at make-up. I use make-up to enhance my natural beauty: highlighting my best features and dialing down those that aren’t so great. Likewise, I cook to bring out the best features of different ingredients. Today I have chosen the lovable strawberry. When strawberries are juicy and sweet, it’s only right that they are celebrated!

On a normal day, I’m satisfied with slicing a punnet of strawberries into quarters and tipping them into a big bowl with some lightly whipped cream. However, sometimes you need to apply a little extra mascara and an anointing of bright red lipstick on your lips.

Let’s begin! The combination of strawberries and cream is a classic one. Tried, tested, and approved. Today we will introduce some vanilla, shortbread, and a lustrous syrup of deliciousness.

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STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM SHORTCAKES

 

Ingredients:

40g sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra

100g unsalted butter

150 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

300g strawberries, hulled and halved

Juice of 1 lime

4tbsp runny honey

½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped

175ml double cream

4tbsp mascarpone

Method:

  1. Using your hands or an electric whisk, beat the sugar and butter until they are smooth and well combined. Add the flour and whisk until the mixture resembles very fine breadcrumbs and work into a dry dough (add the tiniest splash of milk if necessary). Flatten the dough slightly and wrap in clingfilm or a tea towel. Chill the dough for about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to gas mark 4, 180⁰C, fan 160⁰. Place the strawberries in a bowl  with the lime juice and 1 tbsp of sugar. Toss until all the strawberries are coated and glistening. Leave to marinade for no more than an hour.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 5mm thick. Using a 7cm cutter, stamp out 12 rounds, re-rolling scraps as you go. Bake on a lined, flat tray for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack.
  4. Whilst the shortbread disks are still on the baking tray, mix the vanilla seeds with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle onto the baked biscuits. Transfer to wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  5. Once the biscuits are cool; whip the cream, mascarpone, and honey to soft peaks. Arrange 6 biscuits on your serving plate and top each with a generous spoonful of cream, some strawberries and a drizzle of marinade syrup. Balance the remaining 6 biscuits on top.
  6. Share and enjoy!!!

Using this same shortbread recipe, having emitted the creamy-strawberry goodness, you can gift them to a loved one! Maybe wrapped in some tissue paper; tied with a ribbon; and arranged in a little box!

I will try to always include a tip/note for you with each recipe to refer to in your future culinary adventures. The benefit of remembering some foundation rules, is that it allows you to sift through recipes that are poorly made. And also, eliminate the constant need of searching for a recipe each time you want to make something delicious.

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Today’s mental-note-worthy pointer is that of shortbread. 1…2…3! 

1 is the sugar, 2 is the butter and 3 is the flour. So for example, 50g sugar multiplied by 2, equals 100g butter. Then multiply the sugar again by 3, and you get 150g flour. That ratio will always give you perfect crumbly shortbread.

cassiesig