Sunday, April 6, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake




Lots of stuff contributing to the creation of this dessert. First, there was the white cake that kept staring at me from the kitchen counter - I had baked two 10"x10" square cakes, one white, using only the egg whites, and one yellow, using only the yolks. This was just for field testing for Shasha's wedding cake (more to come on that). Plan A is to make a genoise, but I thought I would give some of the traditional cakes a trial run too - the genoise have been giving me problems lately and not wanting to rise. Both the yellow and the white were very nice, though the white one did not rise like I expected - but I do think it did what it was supposed to do. And I think the yellow one rose more than it should have - it came up over the top of the 2" pan. So, anyway, there they were on the counter, wrapped up tight. I kept thinking of and rejecting chocolate type fillings. Finally, after reading three different recent entries about strawberries - from http://ayankeeinasouthernkitchen.com/, http://www.davidlebovitz.com/, and http://tartelette.blogspot.com/ - I caved and bought some strawberries - no doubt not the same quality as either Paris or South Carolina this time of year, but still, they turned out to be pretty darn good.


Then I made a creme patissiere, or pastry cream, for the filling. I doused the cake layers in a marsala syrup, filled them with pastry cream (lightened with whipped cream) and some sliced berries, and frosted with a whipped cream cream cheese frosting.



And then I had some leftover frosting, so I added little frosting runs down the sides for fun! Really fabulous. Again, no pictures of the inside - I am working on this!!! It only used half of the cake too, so there are many more options to play with.

The pastry cream is very light. It is made with milk as opposed to half and half or heavy cream and it doesn't really lose anything this way.

Pastry Cream – Crème Patisserie

2 cups milk

3 T cornstarch
½ cup sugar
3 eggs

1 T unsalted butter
Vanilla or rum or almond extract

1 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks and lightly sweetened with powdered sugar

Whisk cornstarch and sugar and eggs in a 1 quart sauce pan. Scald milk (in microwave is fine) then stir gradually into the egg mixture. Turn heat on medium and cook, stirring, until it gets very thick. Take off the heat, beat in the butter and flavoring. Transfer to a bowl, cover with waxed paper pressed right on the top of the custard, then let cool at room temp 15-20 minutes and then refrigerate. After it is cool and firm, whip the 1 cup of cream and then whisk the cream into the custard to lighten it.

Use as a filling for a white cake with berries, or fill a prebaked tart shell and cover with fresh berries.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I like your twist on the strawberry shortcake. We have a strawberry festival this weekend with a baking contest. Thought I would make a Srawberry tart w/lemon curd and a Southern Biscuit style Shortcake as an entry. Being a better cook than baker there are quite a few basics I haven't made yet. The Pastry Cream is one of those recipes. I look forward to trying yours. Thanks.