Strawberry Cream on Shortbread
This is a wonderful company dessert. The buttery, golden crust and creamy strawberry filling complement one another beautifully.
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter*, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- If you use salted butter, omit the 1/4 teaspoon salt in the recipe.
- 16-ounce container fresh strawberries (about 4 cups), with additional for garnish, if desired
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar, to taste
- 1/3 cup cold water
- two 1/4-ounce packages plain gelatin
- 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream or whipping cream
- fresh strawberries, to garnish
- Feel free to use unsweetened frozen strawberries, thawed, in place of fresh.
- The range of sugar in the filling is given because some strawberries are sweeter and tastier than others. Make the berry purée a bit sweeter than you think you should; by the time you add the whipped cream, the filling should be perfectly sweetened.
- Be sure to measure the flour for the crust using the "sprinkle and sweep" method. If you don't, you're liable to use too much flour, which will make the crust hard to work with.
- For extra-elegant presentation, bake the crust in a 9" round springform pan, adding about 5 minutes to the baking time. Fill and finish as directed.
- For easiest slicing, place the pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes before serving. But any way you slice it, it's difficult to get the first piece out intact; that first square is "baker's treat"!
Adapted from kingarthurflour.com
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" square pan.
2) For the crust: Mix the softened butter with the remaining ingredients, beating until cohesive. The mixture will seem very dry at first; it may take up to 3 minutes beating at medium-high speed to bring it together. If it just won't come together, drizzle in a bit of milk, a teaspoon at a time, until it does.
3) Pat the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan, and prick it all over with a fork. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300°F and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, until golden. Remove the crust from the oven, and let it cool completely.
4) To make the filling: Hull the strawberries, but don't bother slicing them. Place them in a food processor or blender, along with the lemon juice and granulated sugar.
5) Place the 1/3 cup cold water in a microwave-safe bowl or very small saucepan. Add the gelatin, stirring to combine; the mixture will become stiff and jelly-like.
6) Heat gently, in the microwave or over a low burner, just until the gelatin dissolves, and the mixture liquefies.
7) Add the liquefied gelatin to the strawberries in the food processor, and process until the berries are puréed.
8) Refrigerate the purée until it thickens enough to mound on a spoon, about 45 minutes. Stir it every 15 minutes, so it thickens consistently throughout; you want to avoid as much lumpiness as possible.
9) Whip the 2 cups cream until stiff. Fold in the strawberry purée gently but thoroughly.
10) Spoon the filling over the crust in the pan, smoothing the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
11) Cut in squares, and serve with fresh sliced berries, and/or crushed/sweetened berries. Refrigerate any leftovers, well wrapped.
Yield: about 16 servings.
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