Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fourth of July Shortcake

After I got back from the hiking conference, where, as expected, I was generally always dead last, preceded by several people who were older than me, my husband happened to mention that the ym's were coming to dinner. That was good because I was planning a drop off, do laundry turn around and leave for a month two days, so it would be nice to see them.
I chose Fourth of July Shortcake because it was only the 10th of July, and blueberries are in season. Although this book doesn't have as many
seasonal recipes as one would think, it does have some, and last year, I was always missing the boat. This year, I have tried to be a little better. For example, if anyone noticed, I was able to buy dandelion greens and serve them during their brief season.
This recipe is somewhat time consuming. First, you make a pastry shell that holds the fruit. Then, you let it cool, spread it with apricot jam, (or something else. I used some unidentified red jelly.) and slice the fruit into it. The recipe calls for a topping made with ricotta cheese. Son overruled the use of ricotta and whipped the cream. Suit yourself in this area. NOTE TO USERS: This recipe contains WAXED PAPER. It is a vital ingredient. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS RECIPE WITHOUT WAXED PAPER. There, I warned you. The other weird thing it has, or perhaps a thing you might not have in your pantry, is whole bran. Whole Foods carries whole bran in the cereal section, not in the grains and baking section.
A year and a half of cooking and blogging has actually taught me something. I had waxed paper, and used it. The waxed paper is used to keep the shell in which the fruit sits from sticking to the pan. You end up with endless frustration and a sticky mess without it. So, as Julia Childs says, if the recipe says use waxed paper, or boil for an hour, or sift the flour, do it. .

Fourth of July Shortcake

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole bran
1 three ounce package cream cheese
2/3 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 egg lightly beaten
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 pint strawberries
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 11-7-1 1/2 inch baking dish or a ten inch springform pan. Line dish or pan with wax paper, allowing paper to extend one inch above top. (You don't have to measure. Just have it stick out.)
2. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in the bran.
3. Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add one-half cup of the sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the lemon rind, lemon juice and egg. Stir in dry ingredients.
4. Spread dough in a very thin layer over bottom of prepared pan and up sides in a thin layer to form a shell. Press a piece of greased wax paper down into the shell. Fit close to dough at all points and let extend an inch above the pan. Fill with dried beans or rice. (You don't have to fill the pan with above. Just put down enough to keep the dough from puffing up when it bakes. Which is enough to cover the bottom so you can't see the dough.)
5. Bake twenty minutes or until dough is set. Remove top waxed paper with beans or rice. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and bake fifteen minutes longer, or until done.
6. Set pan on a rack and let cool thirty minutes. Lift out shell and let cool. Spread bottom of shell with apricot preserves.
7. Slice the strawberries and sprinkle with sugar to taste. Sprinkle the blueberries with sugar to taste. Alternating the berries, arrange them in four segments on top of the preserves. (I guess this is supposed to make blue and red stripes. I didn't quite understand this instruction. I arranged the berries in layers.)
8. Beat the ricotta with the milk until smooth. Blend in two tablespoons sugar, or to taste, and the vanilla. Serve on each slice of shortcake. Makes six servings.

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