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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

twd: tender shortcakes

This past Sunday, I made a commitment. A big commitment. A life-changing commitment.

No, I did not jet off to Las Vegas.

I bought a freezer. A 14.1 cubic foot upright Frigidaire freezer to be delivered by Lowes once they have it in stock.

As long as I have it by strawberry season, I'll be happy.

We have another week or two before the first local berries burst forth in ruby profusion. Until then, I'm using up the last few bags of last summer's berries that have been taking up precious space in my bottom freezer drawer. I was so careful, so judicious, so conservative with my berries that I have two and one half bags left!

I decided to cook one bag into a loose jam/compote for this week's recipe, tender shortcakes. Cathy, who lives in Alabama, where I lived for six very good years, chose this recipe. She made hers with local berries and—I'm insanely jealous—Chilton county peaches. Everyone in Alabama knows those peaches because they are delicious. Check our her blog, the Tortefeasor, for the recipe, and for her usual blend of wit, humor, and delight.

The shortcakes are indeed tender, and a little mishapen due to several small mishaps:

1. lack of baking powder. I substituted a mixture of baking soda and cream of tartar, at the suggestion of Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen. They're a little flat, likely because my cream of tartar is...old.

2. freezer issues. I mixed the shortcakes late afternoon, and then decided I didn't want to bake them until after dinner, so I formed balls, placed them on a baking sheet, and wedged them into the bottom freezer drawer. I forget to flatten them. And, when G came home and opened the freezer to stow his lunchbox icepack, he hollered, in alarm, "I think I ruined your balls." One ball had fallen apart, but I wasn't worried.

3. slight underbaking. The flattish cakes were golden brown on top but a tiny bit doughy when I split them with a fork.

HOWEVER, these cakes—biscuits, really—are indeed tender, very slightly sweet, and a lovely foil for fresh (or slightly cooked) fruit. I topped them with whipped cream (or, as the French so lovingly say, Chantilly. So much chicer, don't you think?), and a splash of Grand Marnier. G and I are noshing them as we work on our blogs, and we're both happy.

With the new freezer, we'll be able to enjoy shortcakes all year long. I'll be able to stow summer's freshest and localest goods. My locavore commitment will be stronger than ever.

And that, my friends, is a sweet commitment.


  1. You will love having a freezer. Place to store the extra from TWD!! so handy. I really wanna make these. Everyone has loved them so far.

    Yours look just perfect!!

  2. LOVE my extra freezer. And I think your shortcakes look lovely.

  3. you must've made minis or your fork is huge! lol
    Tia @ buttercreambarbie

  4. I don't mean to sound dramatic, but your new freezer will CHANGE YOUR LIFE! M. talked me into getting one last year (also an upright, also from Lowe's) and I love love love it. Freezing sheet pans of fruit chunks for smoothies? No problem. Making sheet pans of dinner roll dough a month before Thanksgiving? Plenty of room. Double batch of soup? Dinner for a busy evening next month. I bought a VitaMix a few weeks ago and I'm now buying tons of fruit at the farmers' market and freezing it IQF for when it's not in season (like you did with your strawberries last year).

    Sorry for going off the deep end but I really love my freezer!

    Your shortcakes look terrific! I want to make them again as I didn't have any fresh fruit when I made them. Plus I can freeze them ahead.

  5. Oh, I am so jealous of your new freezer, Jessica! Please post regularly about how it is changing your life so I could gather some more ammunition to convince D that we need one!

    Your shortcakes look wonderful! Looks like you overcame the baking powder/freezer, etc issues, and ended up with some beautiful, delicious little cakes. Love the compote you served with yours (sure wish I could send you some Chilton County peaches as well!!) Thank you for your kind words, and thank you for baking with me this week!

    (BTW, I loved your remark about how "Chantilly" sounds so much chicer than "whipped cream." My 5 year old loves the "Fancy Nancy" children's books-- Nancy is always explaining that things sound so much fancier in French. For example "crudite" is much chicer than "cut up vegetables." The author should really work "Chantilly" into her next book!)

  6. Oh oh ... a freezer... the bain of my TWD existence! I have 2 extras! And they're both filled with TWD baked goods! Wonderful post - glad you enjoyed the shortcakes - they look wonderful!

  7. With all those delicious looking berries and chantilly, you not only can't tell if your shortcakes are flat or not, you don't care! So glad you liked them.

    A freezer? My dream. If only I had the space ..

  8. The shortcakes look beautiful. I'm sure they were delicious.

    I covet your freezer, Jessica. Every time I open my own tiny little thing, bags of vegetable bits (for the stock pot) come sliding out. And I can never find anything in there. So frustrating! It's a real kitchen hazard.

    Keep us posted on what you store there.