A Shortcake Journey

Strawberries

Big fat juicy berries.

There are few things in life as tempting as Strawberry Shortcake. Come June, the shortcake dreaming starts. Actually, I should call it the Shortcake Dreaming because I am pretty sure its universal, and I’m also pretty sure it deserves some sort of official socio-cultural status.

In the Dreaming, we pray for sun, so the berries will be plump and sweet. We pray for just enough rain so they will be juicy. We pray for patience while they take their own sweet strawberry time and ripen. Then we invoke the time spirits so that our grandmother’s biscuity baking sense will be channeled through us when the berries are finally available in big fat flats from roadside stands and markets and we strap on our aprons.

I prayed more feverishly than usual this year, as it seemed the spring rains just would not stop, creating an unnatural state of high anxiety for the sodden baby berries. Not to mention that I’ve been committed to trying gluten-free alternatives to many of my favourite recipes this year. Yes, I used the C-word. Committed. This means actually doing it, not just thinking-wishing-hoping-talking about it.

shortcake recipe

A happy find. An old-fashionedy shortcake recipe.

So, would my Shortcake Dreaming be fulfilled? Would the berries ripen or would the Big Fear manifest and there would be no crop? Could I find any kind of old-fashionedy shortcake recipe that could possibly succeed as a gluten-free variation? I know. What a month.

In an earlier blog, I mentioned receiving some treasured vintage cookbooks. I decided to use a shortcake recipe from one of these and take it for a gluten-free spin. The result: Big Fat Fail. (Not that it stopped me from piling on the berries and cream and test-eating it anyway. After all, I am committed.)

gluten free shortcake

In praise of GF biscuit mix.

Now, this is normally the kind of shortcake recipe I love. I like a biscuit base, not too sweet and one where the berries have a starring role. So I can’t blame the recipe – not at all. I pretty much swapped ingredients straight across without adapting anything. Kind of a ‘squinch your eyes shut, cross your fingers and mix’ approach to alternative cookery. I use Namaste Perfect Flour Blend as my day-to-day replacement flour (no, I’m not paid to endorse it – I just really like it) and usually have really good success. I contacted them via their Facebook page (see, I’m committed) and they suggested I try their biscuit mix as an alternative. I couldn’t find it in my local markets but I did find Bob’s Red Mill brand (also not paid to endorse it).  Success!

You can see for yourself. The biscuit mix made all the difference. Generally, I prefer to stay away from mixes, but the Namaste people were so kind to offer an option, I thought it was worth a try. Plus, the summertime is all about making it easy. You can try any number of variations for shortcake. I like mixing it up (ahem).

strawberry shortcake

Shortcake Dreaming manifest.

To Make the Shortcake: When the dough is baked, split it and butter the lower portion. Put sweetened (I used agave syrup) fruit between the layers and on top. Garnish with whipped cream.

My Shortcake Dreaming marks the start of summer, which is the start of something more important – berry season!

(I know, you thought I was going to say Shortcake Eating, didn’t you? That’s next).

 

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About Vicki

I’m a coach and consultant and in my spare time I like to cook and play house. I believe happy idleness is a purposeful pathway to a contented life. And I am happiest either in my pajamas or an apron – or both.

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