If you think about it – really think about it – the best part of Memorial Day gets totally swept under a rug of burgers and shandies. The best part being dessert, of course. I mean think about it: as the weather warms up, so does the ferocity of your sweet tooth (think about it); berries are bright, flavorful and vibrant right now; and this is a light and fresh dish that looks equally at home on china or Chinet. So, maybe dessert isn’t the most important part of Memorial Day parties – shortcake is.
The best and most party-friendly aspect of strawberry shortcake is that, since it’s not intended to be served warm, you can and should make your life easier by making it ahead of time. The shortcakes can be made the night before and you can slice your strawberries in advance. I soaked them in the simple syrup but if you don’t have the lead time for soaking, you can always just drizzle the syrup directly over them. The only wild card is the whipped cream which can be made ahead of time, but not too far, for fear of it deflating! While I’d rather have deflated whipped cream than, say, a paper cut between two of my fingers, it still takes some of the magic out of the dish when it’s not topped with a sky-high pile of lighter-than-air whipped cream. So, plan accordingly.
But don’t plan to spend too much time on this. The shortcakes are fast and easy to make (and the recipe can be multiplied if necessary), giving you plenty of time to head outside into, hopefully, the sun with a cold drink in your hand.
Happy long weekend!
- 2 cups of water
- 1/4 cup granulated monk fruit sweetener or granulated stevia
- Zest of 1 small lemon
- 1 pint strawberries washed, dried, hulled and sliced
- 1 batch coconut whipped cream
- Fresh mint leaves optional
Make the simple syrup first by bringing the water to a boil, then stirring in the stevia or honey until dissolved. Add the zest and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before using.
While the syrup is cooling, make the shortcakes. Preheat the oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick pad and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (almond flour through salt) and set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the butter or oil.
Pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture and stir just until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
Scoop 3-4 Tablespoon portions (I used an ice cream scoop) and place them about 2" apart on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten the tops very gently with the palm of your hand.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden around the edges.
Cool completely before slicing lengthwise, and topping with a scoop of sliced strawberries, a drizzle of simple syrup, and a dollop of coconut whipped cream. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, if desired. Serve immediately.
If you can't or don't use baking powder, sub 2 teaspoons baking soda.
Before you mix the butter or oil with the eggs, make sure it has cooled enough so that you can submerge your fingertip in it for a count of 5. Any hotter and it will cook the eggs!
If your hand is sticking to the shortcake dough when you flatten the cakes, lightly grease or dampen your palm to avoid sticking.
If you'd like, you can marinate the sliced berries in the cooled syrup for 30-60 minutes before adding them to the shortcakes. This will soften them and infuse them with a sweeter, slightly lemony flavor, which is wonderful, but if you're in a hurry or cooking for a crowd, skipping this step saves a lot of time.
Yield: 12 shortcakes