Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon Curd Cream

29 03 2009
Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon Curd Cream

Strawberry Shortcake with Lemon Curd Cream

This is one of those recipes that when you open the cookbook and your eyes fall onto the picture I’m like .. .MUST MAKE! Droll starts pouring out and everything.  But honestly you have to find the chance to make it.  Making shortcake from scratch not to mention lemon curd from scratch isn’t exactly a “quick” process.

Well yesterday we got the break we were looking for.  A dinner party with another couple where we were tasked with bringing desert! (And drinks technically but posting about how we bought 4 bottles of Virgil’s root beer and a bottle of Trader Joe’s sparkling Pink Lemonade is sort of passe).  And was it worth it? YES! My actual creation looked almost identical to the one in the cook book (that doesn’t usually happen) and tasted better since the “original” was paper. 

So each of the three parts: Shortcake, Lemon Curd, and Strawberry mixture were all made from scratch by hand.  And each one would have been a fantastic dessert on its own but put them together and they were awesome. 

Starting with the shortcake. The shortcakes are made from standard biscuit type ingredients with notable additions of zest of an orange and cream as the liquid.  Normally I try to avoid dairy but this recipe looked so good I didn’t want to spoil it by trying to alter it to much the first round so I went ahead and made it a one Antacid night.  So the shortcake was pretty straight forward to make mixing the dry ingredients together first and slowing mixing the cream in until a dough has formed.  Let me tell you if you try this recipe their suggestion for a rubber spatula to mix the dough with.. reject it and use a wooden spoon your hand will like you so much better! So once the dough was mostly formed we turned it out onto a floured surface and kneaded it a few times.  Rolled it out to about 1″ thick and use a glass to cut 2.5″ rounds of shortcake. After re-rolling the dough two times I was left with a ring of dough around the glass jar as you can see in the next figure.

Shortcake Cutting Technique / Leftovers

Shortcake Cutting Technique / Leftovers (Can you see the orange zest in the dough?!)

Instead of rolling it one more time into one last shortcake the sous chef had a great idea:

Heart Shapped Shortcake (For the special boy at dinner!)

Heart Shaped Shortcake (For the special boy at dinner!)

That photo jumps ahead because it is cooked already but pictures are pictures.  So after everything was formed into shortcake rounds/hearts the recipe calls for freezing them for 1 hr before baking! So we did and then baked them at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes and then dropped it to 350 F for 10 minutes.  All per the recipe and they came out beautiful!

Cooked Shortcakes

Cooked Shortcakes

Amazingly they actually look like shortcakes! Most of experience with “shortcakes” as a kid were Bisquick based.  Ok all of them.  Now I *LOVE* Bisquick based shortcake and for better or for worse its what I want in shortcake now.  When I was making these ones I tried some of the dough and got REALLY excited because it tasted like / texture was the same as Bisquick shortcakes!!!!!  As it turns out … they are close enough to make me happy and taste way better than Bisquick ones which makes me really really happy!

Upward and onward to the Lemon Curd! Boy was this an experience.  I think I forgot to take a picture of the real craziness of the “Steam double boiler” setup I used to make it but oh well. Use your imagination! So the Lemon Curd in the picture is actually homemade whipped cream infused with a homemade lemon curd for flavor (go figure!).  So the first step is to make the lemon curd itself.  Ingredients wise it was pretty straight forward: sugar, lots of egg yolks, fresh lemon juice, and zest of lemon.  Those all got mixed together and then cooked with steam until they thickened until they were like mayo.  This is the part where the photo would have been awesome. 

So the recipe calls for using a metal bowl on top of a sauce pan.  The bowl is supposed to sit above boiling water but not touch it! The steam / heat of the boiling water I guess is what cooks the custard.   Well I didn’t have a metal bowl so I used my sauce pan which I managed to balance in the mouth of the my pasta pot and made it all work! So that was excellent. 

After it was all custard like I added the half butter and half margarine I decided to use. At this point with so much cream in it I didn’t want to fail by using margarine and not having it whip up right so I borrow some butter from my roommate and made up the difference with margarine.  Then the mixture got strained through a fine mesh colander and set out side in a shallow bowl to cool to room temperature.

Cooling Custard...Lemon Style!

Cooling Custard...Lemon Style!

While it was cooling down it was time to start the whipping of the cream.  A bit of sugar, 2 cups of heaving whipping cream later, and a few minutes of beating with an electric mixer I had some lovely “soft” peaks of whipped cream.  It was time to make it lemonlike! The recipe called for 1/4 c. of the lemon custard to start with. 

Folding Lemon Custard into the "soft peaks" whipped cream.

Folding Lemon Custard into the "soft peaks" whipped cream.

Which is funny because the lemon custard recipe made at LEAST 2.5 cups of custard which the recipe pointed out and said to put on toast, etc.  So 1/2 cup of custard later we had ourselves a lovely lemony curd cream topping with medium peaks!

The last part of the creation was actually started at the same time of the custard: strawberries! The recipe calls for cut up strawberries tossed with honey.  Being allergic to honey and not wanting to buy any special honey I opted for sliced strawberries with some sugar on them and letting them sit for 3 hours to make their own juices. I also got a little impatient and added some simple syrup I had made for a previous recipe to speed it up a bit.

All in all it took about 3 hours to make the dessert and was totally worth it.  The leftovers are a bit out of control as the shortcake only made 8 + one heart and we used 2 lbs of strawberries: plenty left over for adequate coverage of the shortcake and spoons if need be :) But the custard/curd/whipping cream is where it got out of hand.  I have at least 1.5 cups left of the actual lemon custard.  And after eating 4 shortcakes and leaving a cup or so of the lemon whipped cream behind at our host’s house we still have 2 cups of lemon whipped cream left!!!! So thankfully the sous chef likes lemon and whipped cream because she has plenty to eat! And in fact as I write this post the sous chef is having her left overs for breakfast. Straight up dessert for breakfast!

A complete success and to illustrate that I will end this post with the completed heart shortcake. Enjoy!

The Special Shortcake for the Special Boy at Dinner!

The Special Shortcake for the Special Boy at Dinner!

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