Local Strawberry Shortcake

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I made strawberry shortcake for a friend’s wedding last month. The wedding guests kept saying it was the best strawberry shortcake they’d ever had. There’s a very good reason for that: almost all the ingredients were local. That is, they were grown or made within 100 miles of the wedding, which was held in Marlboro, Vermont.

The ingredients:

Strawberries and Maple Syrup from Lilac Ridge Farm in West Brattleboro, Vermont.

Cream from Butterworks Farm in Westfield, Vermont.

Rhubarb from Tom and Dawn Huenink in Marlboro, Vermont (heirloom rhubarb plants originally from the MacArthurs of MacArthur Road in Marlboro).

Maple Sugar from Highland Sugarworks in Websterville, Vermont.

Flour from Champlain Valley Milling in Westport, New York. (Not all the wheat milled by Champlain Valley is locally grown, but the miller is very active in encouraging local farmers to grow grains.)

(Oh, and I used baking powder from Indiana and salt from Utah.)

Fruit shortcake is so simple to make, and so good. You can use any berries or fruits that are in season where you live. Here’s how to do it.

Make biscuits.

I used a version of the cream scone recipe from the Joy of Cooking because it’s simple and tasty. (You don’t have to cut in any butter, which makes things easier when you’re making 150 scones!)

Mix:
2 cups all purpose flour (I used a mix of pastry and bread flours since that’s what I could get locally)
3 tablespoons maple sugar (1/3 cup if you use cane sugar—it’s not as sweet)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream.

Mix and knead gently to form a dough. Shape the biscuits and bake them at 425 for about 15 minutes. They’re best used the same day they’re baked, but you can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it until it’s time to bake.

Pick strawberries.

Or raspberries. Or blackberries. Or peaches. Or cherries. Or currants. Or gooseberries. Or whatever’s ripe! You need about 1/2 cup per person. Prepare the fruit. You may want to add a little sweetener, depending on your taste and what fruit you use.

Whip cream.

I sweetened it with a little maple syrup. You might want to add vanilla.

I also made a very simple rhubarb sauce—simmer a few stalks of rhubarb in a little water and maple syrup to taste.

Assemble your shortcakes.

Pull apart a biscuit and put half on the plate. Top it with a big scoop of fruit and some whipped cream. Add the top half of the biscuit, more whipped cream, and the rhubarb sauce if you’re using it. Or build them however you like!

Eat!

Coming soon: A roundup of resources for local eating.

3 Comments »

  1. Sil said,

    January 16, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

    Hello! I just discovered your blog and I think it’s amazing! I’m from Argentina and I love the fact that you write about all the things that are interesting me right now: herbs, good food and a better way of life. Thank you!
    I have one question for you. Which one exactly is the all purpose flour? Is the one one use to make white bread? Some times is hard to “translate” the ingredients to spanish… 🙂
    Thank you again and I’ll keep enjoying all this wonderful information you share with us.
    Sil

  2. crabappleherbs said,

    January 16, 2008 @ 12:46 pm

    Thanks, Sil!

    In the US, All Purpose (also known as “AP”) flour usually has a protein content of around 10-11%, it’s “harder” than pastry flour, but “softer” than bread flour. Does that help?

  3. Katharine Parker said,

    December 3, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

    Aloha,
    I am in Hawaii. Dawn sent me a letter, and asked me to ‘facebook’ her in return. I went on ‘facebook’, and she was not to be found. I put her name on ‘google’ and this was the only site she was on. PLEASE, can you give me a way to respond to her request?
    Gratitude!
    Katharine Parker
    p.s. your strawberry shortcake looks delicious!

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