Monday, July 4, 2011

Strawberry Sauce for Shortcake or Ice Cream

Classic Strawberry Shortcake: Before

Recipe by Mom

Happy July 4th, Everyone! Here in the States, one of our most traditional foods on our Independence Day is Strawberry Shortcake. This is a natural, since strawberries are ripe and ready just about everywhere in the country. Strawberry shortcake is one of those rare desserts that just about everyone loves. It practically says "summertime." It's easy to make and employs locally grown fruits plus lots of decadent whipped cream to enhance the celebratory aspect of the day. What could be more American?

Strawberry shortcake and I go ‘way back. My Mom used to make the shortcake with Bisquick, and whip heavy cream for the topping. When I moved away from home, I started making strawberry shortcake every July 4th. After making the Joy of Cooking shortcake recipe for a few years I decided to simplify my celebration and just buy an angel food cake. I still prepare the strawberry sauce just like Mom did, although after reading my nutrition educator friend Mira’s post on sweetening alternatives, I replaced the white sugar with evaporated cane juice, a less refined alternative. Strawberry sauce is also delicious on ice cream.

Update, September 2011: my artist friend Cruz suggested "some like it hot" when serving strawberry sauce over ice cream. I just tried it, and he is absolutely right. I warmed it in the microwave, about 30 seconds for one serving. Don't make it too hot, 'cause it will melt the ice cream too fast. If it feels moderately warm on your finger it will contrast with the frozen ice cream beautifully. Thank you, Cruz!

If you use a store-bought cake, do check the ingredients. I was amazed once when an angel food cake from a local grocery store looked and tasted “same as new” when it was over 3 weeks old. When I checked the ingredients there were many chemicals (such as propylene glycol, also known as  antifreeze!) and few real ingredients like fresh eggs. A local bakery (like our Gianna’s) cake will cost twice as much, and that’s because it contains real ingredients like eggs and flour, and is produced in small quantities without preservatives.

Enjoy your Independence Day!

Closeup of the Strawberry Sauce
Strawberry Sauce Just Like Mom Used to Make!
Strawberry Shortcake
serves 2

1 basket (pint) strawberries
3 tbsp. water
2 tsp. sugar or evaporated cane juice (or to taste)
Shortcake or angel food cake
Whipped cream

Make strawberry sauce: Wash, hull, and slice the strawberries. Put them in a narrow, deep bowl with water and sugar. Crush slightly with potato masher, until juice looks red and tastes strawberry-ish.

Assemble shortcake: Split shortbread or cake and put in bowl. Top with strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

Which Cake Would You Rather Eat?

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