Strawberry Shortcake

Right now, what I really want to do is cry. 


Not because I am sad. 

I'm not. I'm calm. I'm joyous. It's summer. 

I want to cry with tiredness. 

I keep thinking about all the places I've been and all the people I've met and hugged and laughed with and in my mind I see all the paths I've taken, as if every place I've been this year is crossed and zig-zagged with red threads, all finally leading back to where I am now: home. 


Like this song, I'm home again. 



And home is the same, the doors and chairs and books and rugs are all the same. But I have changed. 


My mind is flooded with ideas and people and places. It's just too much. 
I am so grateful for all of it. Even though the past few months are incomprehensible to me, even though I have no idea what just happened, I know it was good. All of it. All the joys and all the aches. It's all been so FUCKING GRAND. I would do it again in a heartbeat. All of it.



I am just so grateful.

But the strangeness of being home again, of listening to my parents talk and eat dinner and drink beer, and the sound of my brothers playing basketball and shouting to their friends in the front yard, and here, me alone again, in the room I am trying to reclaim as my own, the unreality keeps coming at me in waves. 

Where have I been? What have I been doing? 

No. 


I need to stop. 

What does it matter? It's the past. 

There is only now. 

And in my now, I want lots of strawberry shortcake. 

As a sign of gratitude I give you a recipe. Finally. 


XOXO

Strawberry Shortcake
From The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters

I'm actually a cheater, I know Strawberry Shortcake is supposed to have whipped cream in the middle and all that jazz, but honestly I only had ice cream. So I just skipped all the extra steps that Alice write about involving the whipped cream and I felt very decadent and super simple. Which is a very good thing. After all YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. But for those of you who are fussy and like whipped cream more than ice cream I've included the rest of recipe. Also, my mum suggested I make this, so I have to give her credit for the idea. Because I wouldn't have thought of it on my own. She's a genius. 

For Shortcake:

Preheat oven to 400 F. 

Stir together in a large bowl
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons baking power

Add
6 tablespoons (3/4 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces

Cut the butter into the flour with your fingers or a pastry blender until they are the size small peas. Measure: 

3/4 cup heavy cream

Remove 1 tablespoon and set aside. Lightly stir in the remainder of the cream with a fork until the mixture just comes together. Without overworking it, lightly knead the dough a couple of times in the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board, and roll out about 3/4 thick. Cut into eight 1 1/2 inch circles or squares or whatever your heart desires. Reroll the scraps if necessary. 
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly brush the tops with the reserved tablespoon or cream. Bake for 17 minutes or until cooked through and golden. 


The The Other Stuff that is On Shortcake:

Hull and slice about 4 cups of strawberries (roughly 2 pints)
Stir in about 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste

Puree one quarter of the strawberry mixture. Stir the puree back into the sliced strawberries and let sit for 15 minutes.
Combine in a bowl:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste

Whip together, until the cream just holds a soft shape. Slice in half:

6 baked 2 inch shortcakes or biscuits or whatever

Place the biscuit bottoms on serving plates. Over each biscuit, spoon strawberries and a DOLLOP of the flavored whipped cream. Top with the other biscuit half and dust with powdered sugar if you so wish. Serve immediately.