Monday, August 20, 2012
Blue Ribbon Shortcake
Hey, I won!
Yes, as my brother asked, I AM touting my own expertise, blowing my own horn! I did win. I entered four categories in the Open class baking and no matter how many entries there are, they only give out one First Place Award. And, if the judges feel there is no worthy candidate, they don't have to award the first place at all.
I took First Place on three of my four entries; rolled baking powder biscuits, oatmeal raisin cookies, and the shortcake featured here.
Too bad, so sad you chocolate chip cookies, sucks to be you; mine did not place. :(
I come from a long line of excellent cooks. Unfortunately, they were not the sort of people who would willing pass along a great recipe, not even to their granddaughter! They took their recipes to their graves, the ultimate in miserly behavior.
So said, I have never taken a cooking class, nor do I have fond memories of cooking with my mother, or grandmothers. Mostly, I was chased from the kitchen as being "in the way."
By the way, this is not something happening this generation. As nerve-wracking as it can be I bake with the three-year-old twins once a month. They each have their own bowl and they spend a lot of time tasting as we go. (As crazy as it makes me, as I am a totally food safety type of girl, to the point my dear brother considers it a character flaw.)
This lack of sharing is sad from another aspect. My 80-year-old father has said on more than one occasion that he craves his mother's pumpkin pie. I think the craving is stronger after his deceased mother's birthday each year, on October 10. I have often thought to find some antique recipes from early past century, sit down with his remaining sister and see what I could come up with. I have a feeling, though, that the recipe was a little of this and a bit of that.
How can you duplicate something like that?
Working in restaurants is where I have learned most of my cooking skills, but I have never been vindicated as baking good food. The best I get from family is a "keep practicing" or those were "okay".
So anyway... feeling more generous than my family, I am sharing one of the few recipes my mother makes and for which I received a blue ribbon at the Waushara County Fair this year. I don't see this scattered around the Internet so if you like it, bookmark it!
My Mother's Shortcake
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2 C. flour
1/4 C. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Cut in until pea-sized or smaller:
1/8 cup vegetable shortening
1/8 cup butter
1/2 C. milk, 2%
3/8 C. heavy cream
Drop in 2" by 2" lumps on a cookie sheet. This recipe makes 7 shortcakes. (Yeah, I acknowledge, that's weird; especially given there were EIGHT of us in the house when I was growing up.)
Bake about 15 minutes. I pull them out when they appear dry and have golden brownish tips.