Sunday, August 4, 2013

Basic Shortcake

(based on a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1968)

2 c flour
¼ c sugar
3 t baking powder
½ t salt
½ c butter
1 beaten egg (yes, it needs to be beaten)
2/3 c half and half (or milk)
Fruit (berries or peaches are traditional)
Whipping cream, whipped or not

Preheat oven to 450. (It needs to be preheated for this recipe – the shortcake needs to go into a hot oven and it needs to go into the oven as soon as the liquid is added to the dry ingredients.) Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or knife until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (You can do this with a food processor, too.) Combine egg and cream and add it all at once, stirring just enough to moisten. Spread dough in a greased 8x1.5 inch round baking dish (it needs to be shallow or it won’t cook properly), building up the sides slightly. Bake at 450 for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Split in two layers and remove top layer carefully (It’s likely to break into pieces; if it does, don’t worry. Just put the pieces back together as best you can after you add the fruit.) Butter bottom layer with soft butter. Spoon fruit (berries or peaches or other fruit) and cream on bottom layer, top with the second layer, add more fruit and cream on top of that. Cut into wedges and serve warm.

If you’re not going to be eating it all at once, either cut the round into smaller pieces or make individual shortcakes. 

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