I have always, always loved strawberries. Like, eat them until you are nearly sick to your stomach love strawberries. In June I always think, I should really get to a pick-your-own berry farm, but inevitably June becomes September and I have certainly NOT made it to a pick-your-own farm. June in Michigan brings early berries so today on my way home from Grand Haven, I stopped at a market on Lake Michigan Drive and bought my first summer berries. Summer early berry season is short, about 3-4 weeks if you are lucky, so get out there! Between this recipe for Strawberry Shortcake and basic inhalation, I managed to polish off 2 pints in about 8 hours. It’s the best kind of sick you can be. Berry sick.
When I was a kid, Grandma Helen made the shortcake, and Aunt Mar made the crisps (we will talk crisp, crumble, betty, etc in the fall). This is the baking powder biscuit recipe I’ve taken from Grandma Helen’s collection and slightly modified to be vegan for all my animal lovin’ friends.
Vegan Baking Powder Biscuits
Sift before measuring.
1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Sift flour with baking powder and salt into medium bowl.
2. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender or 2 knives (used scissors-fashion), until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
3. Make a well in the center. Pour in 3/4 cup milk all at once. Stir quickly round the bowl with a fork. If mixture seems dry, add a little more milk to form dough just moist enough (but not wet) to leave side of bowl and form ball.
4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface to knead. Gently pick up dough from side away from you; fold over toward you; press out lightly with palm of hand. Give the dough a quarter turn. Repeat ten times.
5. Gently roll out dough, from center, to 3/4 inch thickness.
6. With floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter or a juice glass like Grandma Helen did it, cut straight down into dough, being careful not to twist cutter.
7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet; bake 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 8 (2 1/2 inch) biscuits.
When I’m too lazy to roll and cut, I make drop biscuits by using the recipe for Baking Powder Biscuits, but increasing milk to 1 1/4 cup. Do not knead or roll out. Drop dough, by tablespoonfuls, onto lightly greased cookie sheet; bake at 450 F. for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
For the rest of the strawberry shortcake, I took a pint of berries, washed, hulled and sliced them and mixed them in a deep bowl with 1 T sugar and 1 T peach schnapps (don’t judge me – any flavored liquor you like will do here). Left this mixture on the counter to create magic while I made the biscuits. Upcycle the remaining 3/4 C or so of the coconut milk into a flat vegan whipped cream by using your hand mixer on high, toss in a 1/2 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp lemon thyme for fun.
To plate, cut a biscuit in half, spoon in strawberries, top with vegan whipping cream and a mint sprig. Store remaining biscuits in the freezer for peach and nectarine season. Shortcake isn’t just for berries.