This week's TWD was chosen by the fabulous Cathy of The Tortefeasor: tender shortcakes. Cathy does it all - wife, mother, lawyer, baker-extraordinaire and she does it with wit and humor. Her blog is one of my favorites so head on over and check it out. You can find this week's recipe while you're there or, if you happen to have Dorie's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours, flip to page 423 to give this one a try.
Making the shortcakes was a lot like making biscuits, meaning it was simple but scared me a bit. I haven't had great luck with biscuits in the past but having had good results with the last recipe I tried, I was hopeful. Though Dorie provided instructions for making the shortcakes by hand, I liked the mixer method I learned from Ina Garten so I used it here (speaking of Ina - did anyone see the episode of Barefoot Contessa recently where she made Jeffrey a special birthday dinner? How cute are they?). Flour, baking powder, salt and sugar are combined then the butter is cut in before finally adding heavy cream to the mix. I made 1/4 of the recipe and wound up with 5 shortcakes, using just slightly less dough than Dorie recommended to shape each one.
To be honest, the shortcakes weren't much to look at when they came out of the oven. They were rustic and unassuming and I wasn't sure what to expect. Mine even got a bit darker on the bottom than I'd have liked and I dare say I was worried they might be a little dry. Of course, the addition of macerated strawberries and freshly whipped cream pretty much guaranteed these would be a hit regardless. Turns out I shouldn't have doubted Dorie - as much as I adore berries and whipped cream, the shortcakes were absolutely the star of this dessert. They were incredibly light and tender, with just the right touch of sweetness. I enjoyed them so much, in fact, that I ate a majority of mine plain. It's pretty exciting to have found this fabulous recipe at the start of berry season - no doubt this is one I'll be turning to frequently this summer! Thanks for a great pick Cathy!