Monday, July 18, 2011

Lemon Basil Strawberry Shortcakes

A couple weeks ago some friends and I went out to Krause Berry Farms in Langley to pick strawberries. SO MUCH FUN! A 45 minute drive from Vancouver, this trip absolutely called for a car full of friends, wicked old school beats and singing insanely loud to the point where I'm sure our friend driving wondered why he volunteered in the first place!

I had read some reviews of this farm and a good tip is that if you are picking your own berries, bring the lightest containers you have because they don't pre-weigh them before you pick. I had also asked if these berries were sprayed and she said the ones we were picking now hadn't been but sometimes they have to so you can call ahead and ask. At the farm they also have a patio and eating area where you can order fresh made berry donuts, strawberry shortcakes, strawberry cream pie, strawberry milkshakes, smoothies and fresh shucked corn pizza.

While you're picking it's pretty much impossible not to pick every perfectly ripe strawberry you see (and eat some too, have you ever had a sun warmed just picked strawberry?! It's on my things you must do before you die list). So needless to say I picked about 5lbs worth. Once I was home I flash froze half of them. To do this wash, de-stem and dry the strawberries, then lay them on a baking sheet in one layer and freeze. Once frozen they can be bagged and kept in the freezer. This ensures they don't all stick together which is a pain in the you know what when you want to make a smoothie.

Inspired by summer and this beautiful fruit I came up with a Lemon Basil Strawberry Shortcake. Shortcakes are my go to for summer dinner parties and potlucks because they can be made ahead of time, take no time to make, don't heat up your kitchen for very long and can easily be assembled and plated on site in a flash. Take advantage of all the amazing summer fruits because soon enough we'll be back to eating APPLES!!

Lemon Basil Strawberry Shortcakes
Makes 12

Lemon Basil Strawberries
6 cups strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup cane sugar (this can depend on how sweet you like it)
1 lemon, zest only
10 basil leaves, chiffonade or finely chopped
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup water
Basil Leaves for garnish

1. Toss all ingredients together and let sit in the fridge.

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1 cup whipping cream
1 egg lightly beaten (to brush on top)
4 tbsp raw coarse cane sugar (to sprinkle on top)

1. Preheat oven to 400degrees F.
2.Combine flour,sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in butter and using a pastry blender cut in butter until it resembles the size of peas.
3. Add whipping cream and using a fork stir until the dough starts to come together.
4. On a floured surface press dough until it comes together, knead gently only until all is incorporated.
5. Roll out dough 1/4" thick and using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter cut into circles.
6. Place on a lined baking sheet, brush with egg and sprinkle with cane sugar
7. Bake for 12-15min or until golden brown.

Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla

1. Chill bowl and beater in the freezer for 5 minutes.
2. Whip cream for 1 minute, add icing sugar and vanilla, continue to whip until soft peaks form

Can be served while shortcakes are still warm or at room temperature. Split shortcakes in half, pile in the lemon basil strawberries and top with whipped cream. Garnish with basil leaf.