Strawberry Shortcake, what a wonderful thing! Two layers of pastry that are half-way biscuit, half-way cake, lavished with the thickest coconut cream you can find, and adorned with fresh strawberries that are oozing crimson juice. It’s a pretty plate, to be sure, and this recipe is so uncomplicated that you can have it ready in a flash.
If you’ve been following Paleomantic this last month, you’ll know that we are having a bumper strawberry season. We’re harvesting handfuls of the big beauties every other day. We’re eating them fresh by the bowlful, mixed up with fruit salad, tossed into salads and blended into the most glorious strawberry gelato. But the other day I wanted something different. Strawberry Shortcake – which I’d never made before – was calling our names. Strawberries, cream and biscuity layers – what more can you want?
Researching around, it seems everyone has their own version of this classic dessert. There are Strawberry Shortcakes which are more like a filled sponge cake, and those where the biscuits are fashioned into individual serves. Strawberry Shortcake can be layered into dessert glasses, like a trifle, and the strawberries can be tossed with sugar, and simmered into a sauce. The shortcake pastry, in Bon Appetit’s decadent recipe, contains 2 boiled egg yolks, the strawberries are tarted up with lemon juice and the cream whipped to peaks with vanilla! I wanted something that was both simple to make and beautiful to behold, so as to bring out the best of our berries. So, as usual, I turned to Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion as the starting point for my recipe.
Stephanie uses self-raising flour, and, like many recipes, her shortcakes puff like scones and are then split down the middle. I took a different path for my Paleo version, mostly because, as you know, I’m a cookie fiend. I want that texture. So I added dessicated coconut to the cassava flour. I swapped coconut oil for the butter, and added a little muscovado sugar with a quarter teaspoon of powdered Bourbon Vanilla for heavenly fragrance. When the dough was formed, I divided it into two balls, and flattened them out into two giant cookies about 17cm in diameter. They turned golden in the oven, and were perfect – not so crisp as to snap, but not so moist as to go soggy when our left-overs (yes, there were left-overs) were placed in the fridge overnight.
When the freshly baked biscuits were cold, we took a couple of cans of Coconut Milk out of the fridge (we always have at least four stashed in the back), and shook them like you would a fresh coconut to see which had the least liquid. Opening that one, we used the thick cream from the top for the smearing. The milk to cream ratio in the Aroy D cans isn’t consistent, so, depending on yours, you might need to use the cream from two refrigerated cans to up the quantity.
Biscuit, cream, fresh strawberries. And again. Biscuit, cream, fresh strawberries.
Slice through. Serve. And Admire.
Which is your favorite Strawberry Shortcake recipe? Do you simmer and sweeten the strawberries, or use them fresh? Let me know in the comments, and if you happen to make this recipe, be sure to give it a rating, take a snap and tag me on Instagram @paleomantic.
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- 1½ cups cassava flour
- ½ cup dessicated coconut
- ¼ teaspoon Bourbon Vanilla powder
- 2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 80 grams soft (not liquid) coconut oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar mixed with 3 tablespoons water
- 1 - 2 cans Aroy D Coconut Milk, refrigerated overnight
- 350 grams fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
- Place the cassava flour, coconut, vanilla, baking powder and bicarb soda into a large bowl and mix well.
- Rub the coconut oil into the dry ingredrients.
- Make a well in the centre. Add the eggs and half of the liquid. Lightly knead, adding the rest of the liquid if necessary, until you have a soft dough.
- Divide the dough in half and press into two large cookies, about 20 cm in diameter. Start by pressing them out in the palm of your hands, then place them directly onto your baking sheet, and continue until you reach the desired size.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool on the tray.
- Open the can of coconut milk, and check the consistency. You want a thick cream consistency. If it's too hard, stir through the water at the bottom of the can. If it's already creamy, you may need to scoop the cream off two cans.
- Place one biscuit on a serving plate. Lather with half the coconut cream and top with half the strawberries. Repeat with the second biscuit.
- Serve and enjoy!