WOMEN AND THE HOME

Shortcake Season

HELEN G. CAMPBELL August 1 1936
WOMEN AND THE HOME

Shortcake Season

HELEN G. CAMPBELL August 1 1936

Shortcake Season

HELEN G. CAMPBELL

Chatelaine Institute

THEY MAY be called "short" because it takes so little time to make them. Or it may he becaiNt they disappear so quickly. Whatever the reason—and it doesn’t matter anyway —there is no doubt that shortcakes in all their variety are among the most elegant and delicious of desserts.

To my mind nothing equals the oldfashioned biscuit kind, but you’ll find people who won't agree with me on that score. These folks with their new-fangled notions, will substitute cake batter for biscuit dough and call it an improvement. Tradition means nothing at all to them, so 1 'm agin ’em.

Not that this modem school of thought cannot produce something quite grand in the shortcake line. They do and I’ll admit it. It may even be that you prefer their sweeter, lighter product. But the real shortcake 1 insist upon this is a light, rich, hot biscuit, split, buttered, filled and capped with crushed, sweetened fruit, and crowned with swirls of whipped cream.

There are endless adaptations of the original scheme. You may, for instance, add more sugar to the foundation recipe, may substitute half Graham flour for half white, may use almost any fruit in creation or combine two or three varieties as you see fit. Or, if you like the cake kind, make a butter cake, a sponge cake or angel food according to your pet formula, let it cool, and add the prepared fruit between and on top just before serving. Even a fresh hot gingerbread is a successful doubledecker dessert with, say, stewed apricots or applesauce for accompaniment.

Any or all shortcakes may be baked in large family size or individual servings; size hasn’t anything to do with the taste. They may be cooked in one layer and split, or in two layers and placed one on top of the other. Cakes are sometimes baked in a sheet and cut in half crosswise into the two pieces for top and bottom. Or you may pour the batter into muffin tins for the cooking.

The berry season is the shortcake season, but that puts no limitations upon you, for canned varieties give the fresh a close run for popularity. And peaches take a back seat to none when it comes to flavor and appearance. Many other fruits are eminently suitable, as you’ll agree when you try them. An orange and banana mixture for instance, shredded pineapple or chopped raw cranberries. No apologies needed and none offered.

A quick trick worth knowing, \yhen you’re in a hurry and want something different, is to buy round, puffy biscuits— the crisp but tender, flaky kind—heat a minute or two. and add the fruit and cream to as many pairs as there are people. This eliminates all the preliminaries of preparation and makes mighty good eating.

Half the success of the dish depends upon the filling and topping. Fresh fruit should be well sugared and crushed or allowed to stand until moist and juicy. Canned fruit is ready for use. but the juices are often thickened and served as a sauce. Though whipped cream is the usual crown of glory, whipped evaporated milk, a marshmallow fluff orwell flavored meringue, can also be used to good effect.

Nor are shortcakes limited to dessert service, at least not the biscuit ones. With a savory accompaniment — creamed chicken, fish, a vegetable combination or an à la King mixture— they make excellent main course dishes suitable for lunches,

light refreshments or Sunday night suppers. And you can if you like reduce last-minute effort to a minimum by using a ready mixed flour, or by combining the dry ingredients and keeping them in the refrigerator until it’s time to add the liquid and pop in a hot oven. Creamed mixtures, as you know, can be reheated in a double boiler when required. Of course, whipped cream is unsuitable as a topping in this case, but a sprig of parsley or cress adds a nice touch of garnish. For “something more” on the plate, our suggestion is green peas or beans, fresh baked or broiled tomatoes, celery, radishes or another crisp accompaniment to give color and variety. So mix up a shortcake in short time, and watch it disappear in short order.

Standard Recipe for Shortcake 2 Cupfuls of flour 4 Teaspoonfuls of baking powder Y> Teaspoonful of salt 4 to 6 Tablespoonfuls of shortening About % cupful of milk 1 Tablespoon ful of sugar if desired

Mix and sift the flour, baking powder and salt, add the sugar if desired, and cut in the shortening. Add milk to make a soft dough that can be handled. Roll or pat and shape as desired for individual shortcakes or for one large one. Bake in a hot oven450 degrees Fahr.— for fifteen to twenty minutes or until nicely browned. Split while hot. butter, and put desired filling between the layers and over the top.

Garnish if desired with whipped cream and whole fruits or other desired materials.

Sour-cream Shortcake 2 Cupfuls of flour 1 Teaspoonful of baking soda 1J/9 Teaspoonfuls of baking powder y Teaspoon ful of salt 1 Egg 1 Cupful of sour cream

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat the egg until light, add the sour cream, and mix lightly but thoroughly with the sifted dry ingredients. Turn out on to a lightly floured board and knead for about onehalf minute. Shape as desired for individual use or one large shortcake, and bake in a hot oven—450 degrees Fahr.—for fifteen or twenty minutes or until the surface is nicely browned.

Berry Shortcakes

Make shortcake according to directions above, split while hot, spread with softened butter, and put a layer of cut or crushed, sweetened berries between the two halves. Cover the top with the crushed sweetened fruit and top with whipped cream. Use a few whole, perfect berries as a garnish. About three cupfuls of berries are required for a shortcake made from the above amounts. The whipped cream may be omitted if preferred and plain cream served at the table with he Assert.

Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, may be used.

Orange Shortcake

Add two teaspoonfuls of grated orange rind to the dry ingredients when mixing the shortcake dough. Bake as directed above, split while hot, butter and cover with sections from six large oranges from which all of the white membrane has been removed and which have been allowed to stand with sugar for a short time. Replace the top and cover it with the orange sections also. Serve with Orange Sauce.

Orange Sauce

iy Cupfuls of orange juice y Cupful of granulated sugar 1 Tablespoonful of cornstarch y Cupful of cold water 2 Egg yolks 2 Egg whites y¿ Cupful of whipping cream 2 Tablespoon fuis of powdered sugar

Heat the orange juice over hot water. Combine the sugar and cornstarch and mix to a paste with the cold water. Add to the hot orange juice and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Continue cooking until the starch is thoroughly cooked. Add a little of the hot mixture to the slightly beaten egg yolks, return to the double boiler, and continue cooking and stirring for four or five minutes. Cool quickly and fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and the cream which has been whipped until stiff with the powdered sugar.

Orange and Banana Shortcake

Mix sliced bananas and orange sections which have been freed of all white membrane and cut in pieces. If the oranges are fairly dry, add additional orange juice. Sweeten to taste and allow to stand for a few minutes. Split hot biscuit shortcake, butter and cover with a layer of quartered marshmallows, then a layer of the fruit mixture and another layer of the quartered marshmallows. Replace the top layer and cover with the fruit mixture. Garnish with whole or halved marshmallows.

Black Cherry Shortcake

Pick over and wash black cherries and remove the pits. Sprinkle with sugar and cook gently until the syrup is thick. Chill and spread between the layers and over the top of hot, buttered shortcake. Top with whipped cream to which shredded cocoanut has been added.

Raspberry-Pineapple Shortcake

Combine equal parts of canned or fresh raspberries and fresh or canned, diced pineapple. Sweeten to taste and put between the layers and over the top of warm shortcake. Serve with fruit syrup made by boiling together one cupful of the mixed fruit juices and one-half cupful of sugar, until thick and syrupy. Garnish with whipped cream.

Sponge Cake for Sweeter Shortcakes

4 Eggs % Cupful of fine granulated or fruit sugar 1 Tablespoonful of lemon juice 1 Teaspoon ful of flavoring (vanilla, a'.mond, lemon or orange extract) % Cupful of sifted flour }/g Teaspoon ful of salt

Separate the egg yolks and whites and beat the yolks until thick and light colored. Add the sugar gradually and continue beating. Add the lemon juice and the flavoring and the egg whites which have been stiffly beaten. Cut the whites into the mixture, and when partly blended, fold in the flour which has been sifted three times with the salt. Turn into two, ungreased layer cake tins and bake in a slow oven—300 to 325 degrees Fahr.—for fifty to sixty minutes.

Cranberry Shortcake

2 Cupfuls of cranberries 1 Cupful of sugar

Pick over and wash the cranberries, and put them, uncooked, through the food chopper. Mix with the sugar and allow to stand tor twelve hours. Put this mixture between the layers and on the top of warm shortcake, and garnish with whipped cream.

Savory Shortcakes

For savory shortcakes to serve as main dishes at luncheons, Sunday night suppers or at bridge parties, make a rich biscuit dough as directed above, omitting the sugar, and bake according to directions. Pnt the desired hot, savory filling between the layers and on the top, and garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley or with green pepper or pimiento strips.

Shrimp and Pea Filling

4 Tablespoonfuls of butter 2 Tablespoonfuls of flour '{> Teaspoonful of salt 1 2 Teasjxxmful of paprika 1 j ó Cupfuls of milk 1 Cupful of shrimps, cleaned and cut in pieces 1 Cupful of cooked or canned peas

Melt the butter, add the flour, salt and paprika and stir until blended and smooth. Add the milk gradually and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Add the prepared shrimps and the peas which have been drained of all liquid. Heat through and serve between the layers and on top of rich shortcake. Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley.