When I moved into our new house last year, the one thing I left behind at my old address, other than my amazing neighbors, was my garden. Some of you may remember Stefan and my “urban farm” project. I’d worked, or at least assisted, in the creation of a spectacular 14 x 14-foot farm. In my new house we have great big trees, that give us wonderful shade and privacy, but my chances of recreating my vegetable garden are zero. I’m lucky just to grow hostas. I studied the patterns of the sun on my new yard, in hopes that a small sliver of daylight would present itself. The only spot is a little nook by my back door, but it is covered in concrete, so tilling the soil will never happen. On a trip to the farmers’ market I bought a potted patio tomato. Why not herbs and berries in pots too?
Now I have a rather impressive (albeit small) crop of lavender, sage, rosemary, lemon verbena, mint, other herbs and
two varieties of strawberries. It isn’t the lush mini-farm I once had, but at least I can step out my back door and “harvest” from the pots.
Truth be told, I’ve only eaten a handful of strawberries from those pots. I’m not sure if it is the rabbits, which we have many, or my boys, who are eating them all? The few I have picked are sweet, a little tart and the most spectacular color red, throughout. The berries we buy in the store are often perfect looking, but when you cut into them they reveal a hollow, white interior, that resembles an empty shell, with a flavor to match. The home grown variety are dense and lovely, just small in number. My new neighbor, who just happens to be an inspired food blogger, Stephanie Meyer of Fresh Tart, brought me a perfect summer gift of a couple pints of hand picked, locally grown strawberries. They were just like my little beauties from my pots, but a recipe’s worth. When she handed them to me, I knew I should do as little to them as possible, they just don’t need adorning. A tiny bit of sugar, a splash of a sweet wine, some herbs from my pots, paired with shortcake and whipped cream. That’s it.
See me make the strawberry shortcake step by step here and find the full recipe at the bottom of this post!
“Shortcake” dough – I used the same dough my son used for his scones. Why not? They are easy, delicious and the perfect texture for strawberry shortcake. Just leave out the raisins.
Make the dough according to the scone recipe, but leave out the raisins. Roll the dough into a log that is 2-inches in diameter.
Cut the dough into 24 pieces. they will be small, and you will use two per serving.
Spread them out on two pans (ignore the amount I have here, I made lots for a party). Brush the top generously with butter and sprinkle with a generous amount of sugar.
Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.
To make the strawberries, toss them with the sugar, wine and herbs.
Let them sit for about 15 minutes. If they sit for any longer they should be refrigerated.
Whip the cream just before serving and assemble the strawberry shortcake. Serve immediately.
"Shortcake" (Scone) Dough
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 cup buttermilk maybe a little more
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 4 tbsp melted butter for brushing the tops
- 1/2 cup sugar for sprinkling the tops
- 2 pints fresh strawberries sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar more if your strawberries are very tart, or less if they are sweet
- 1/4 cup sweet white wine I used a bottle of riesling from Sofia by Francis Coppola
- 3 tbsp chopped herbs I used basil, lemon verbena and mint
- 1 pint whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Do this right before serving.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender, until it resembles cornmeal. You actually want some of the flour to resemble cornmeal, once it is cut with the butter, but you also want to keep some of the butter in pea sized pieces, which will create the flakiness in your scones.
- Add one cup of buttermilk and zest, gently stir it with a spoon, just to moisten the flour. It is ok if some of the flour is still powdery, but if it seems like there are big bunches of dry ingredients still in the bowl, add another tablespoon of buttermilk.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface to do the gentle kneading. You are really just turning the dough over on itself, using a bench scraper is very handy to get this done without over working the dough. Turn the dough 12 times. Divide the dough in half.
- Roll the dough into a log that is 2-inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 24 pieces. they will be small, and you will use two per serving.
- Spread them out on two pans. Brush the top generously with butter and sprinkle with a generous amount of sugar. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.
- Toss strawberries with the sugar, wine and herbs. Let them sit for about 15 minutes. If they sit for any longer they should be refrigerated.
- Whip the cream just before serving and assemble the strawberry shortcake. Serve immediately.