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Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes

Hello Baking Lovers!

Today we are having Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes — à la Beth. I have a coworker who not only is allergic to chocolate (oh the HORROR of it!), but absolutely LOVES Strawberry Shortcakes of all kinds. His birthday is this weekend, so I decided to start our long weekend off right at work and make him (and the rest of my taste-tester victims) some sweet treats to make the day more enjoyable.

Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes!

I was looking at my favorite Strawberry Shortcake Recipe, which is courtesy of the book Strawberry Shortcake Murder, a Hannah Swensen novel, by Joanne Fluke. Unfortunately, I didn’t have 48 hours to let the Pound Plus Cake sit before serving, so I decided to shop around some more for quicker recipes.

In my search, I happened upon this nice blog site unsophisticook, and found some great stuff! I found what would be the basis for my Shortcakes, and a great Bisquick baking substitute for not having to buy the boxed product as well!

To start, I didn’t alter the Bisquick Substitute recipe. Contain your shock, I know it has your jaw agape, but please…miracles do happen! So to start the whole process off I knew I would only need 3.5 cups of the substitute, so I halved the recipe from the above link. I didn’t want extra since it is so easy to whip up!

Step 1: Whisk together 3 cups flour, 1.5 tbspn baking powder, and 1/2 tbspn salt until thoroughly blended. Add 1/4 cup cold sliced butter and, using a pastry cutter or two knives or a whisk, mix in the butter until fully incorporated and no lumps remain.

Step 2: To the flour, add 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 cup milk, and stir completely until dough is lumpy and dry.

Step 3: Add in 1/2 cup sour cream and mix dough well: this will moisten the dough and make it sticky.

Step 4: Drop spoonfulls of dough onto a cookie sheet, mine is lined with foil, and sprinkle with granulated sugar, Bake for 14 minutes at 425 F (preheat your oven first!). NOTE: You want the dough balls at least the size of a hacky sack, otherwise you won’t have enough cake for the full effect!

Step 5: Slice up 2 lbs of fresh de-stemmed strawberries and put in a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup sugar over top (distribute evenly).

Step 6: Combine 2 tbspn lemon juice and 1/3 cup cold water. Pour mixture over strawberries & sugar. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight.

Step 7: To make the Crème Fraiche, put 2 cups heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer on high for 1 minute. Add in 1/2 cup sugar and let whip for around 10 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Then add in 1/2 cup sour cream, switching the speed down significantly (on mine went from 10 to 3).

Now, I made all the stuff, refrigerated the crème and strawberries, covered the shortcakes (left on top of the cooled stove), and went to bed. You could do this immediately after everything has cooled, but it worked out great overnight for me!

Assembling the Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes:

Step 8.1: Split the cooled cakes in half horizontally.

Step 8.2: Place the bottom half of the cake in a cupcake holder (easiest way to keep them together AND transport them, I promise!).

Step 8.3: Place a dollop of crème fraiche on top of the cake bottom.

Step 8.4: Place 3 slices of strawberries on top of the crème. NOTE: you probably want to drain the juices from the strawberries before starting this process. I drained into a glass & enjoyed a yummy strawberry juice, with a few slices slipped in!

Step 8.5: Place top of cake on top of strawberries, dab a small dollop of crème on top, and sprinkle with a tiny bit of brown sugar. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving, as this will enhance the flavors immensely!

Step 9: Serve and enjoy!

So that is the easy peasy lemon squeezy way to make these cute, individual sized Fraiche Strawberry Shortycakes! Let me know how you like them – so far everyone at work has absolutely loved them! Have a great rest of your Friday, a great weekend (for those in the US – HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY weekend!), and until next time…!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Mini Fruit Tartlets

Happy Friday! 🙂

I personally am very grateful that this work week is hours from being over. To celebrate this, I got baking last night! Okay fine, it was partly for stress relief as well, but I also wanted to celebrate TGIF, I swear! 🙂
I saw this wonderful recipe for French Tart Dough earlier this week. And I am not going to lie, the fact that the blogger, David Lebovitz, was learning this from a French cooking instructor, Paule Caillat, was a draw. But then she said as her instruction for adding X amount of flour “Oh…you know, enough to make it right” — and I was sold on this recipe. A cooking instructor who cooks like me without really measuring, but eyeballing and going off of looks, smell and experience?!?! Ding!Ding!Ding! We have a winner. And thus I decided I needed to make a tart, a French tart. But not be one, of course… 😉 Teeheehee, you know you laughed a little inside, so don’t even try to act like you didn’t.

So I was thinking about what kind of treat I wanted to make into a tart, but I was leaning heavily towards Kiwi-Strawberry-Banana incorporated somehow. And then I read a comment from David’s blog about using a pastry cream and fresh berries to top the tart. So I found a very awesome blog about “How to Make Pastry Cream”, which I’ve never done before, and decided that I would make Mini Fruit Tartlets! Woohoo!

Keep in mind, please, that I absolutely loved the dialogue from David’s blog in his learning from Paule, so I was definitely channeling that in my cooking of the French Tartlets!

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Browned Butter


First I preheated the oven to 410. Then I put 3/4 stick unsalted butter, 2 quick shakes of salt, 1.5 tbspn sugar, little under 1/8 cup water, and about 1 tbspn of canola oil into a glass baking dish. Put in the oven for 15 minutes (set your timer!), until the mix is melted and browning on the edges.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Cream & Sugar


While the butter browns, pour 2 cups/16 oz of heavy cream into a heavy saucepan on medium heat. Add rounded 1/2 cup sugar and 1 dash salt, whisking occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Keep on heat until simmering.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Yolk For You


While the cream is heating, separate 5 eggs, reserving the whites for later, and whisk egg yolks with 1/8 cup sugar until the sugar dissolves, about 15-20 seconds. Then add in 1/8 cup flour (not cornstarch, yes I was out and decided to improvise, don’t be too shocked!) and whisk until fully incorporated. You should have a light yellow creamy mixture by now.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Frothed Milk


Once the cream has started to froth & boil, remove from heat (don’t turn off), stirring constantly for 1 minute, and then slowly pour into the egg mixture whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Milk & Eggs


Once the cream & eggs have been combined and whisked to creaminess, pour the mix back into the saucepan and set back on the heat. Whisk continuously until starts to bubble a bit, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat immediately.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Vanilla Butter


Once removed from heat, add a half stick butter (I broke mine in half, but 4 pieces would be quicker to melt) and 2 tspn vanilla extract. Okay, okay, I did more like 2.5, you caught me. 🙂 Stir this with a spatula occasionally to help this incorporate the butter and vanilla evenly.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Browned Butter + Flour


About this time, your butter should be fully melted in the oven and slightly browned. Remove ***will be hot and splatter a bit*** from oven (keep the oven on) and let cool on the side for 1 minute. Add in 1 1/2 cups of flour, or just a little under, and stir until pulls away from sides and is a buttery sticky ball. Let sit and cool. I learned the hard way – remove the ball from the bowl and let cool on a surface that wasn’t just in an oven. 🙂 I used the butter paper wrapper. 🙂

Mini Fruit Tartlets: That's A Wrap of Pastry Cream!


Once your butter and vanilla have been fully incorporated, and your mixture has cooled some, pour the pastry cream into your egg-mixing bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the cream, which will keep a skin from forming on the cream. Fridge this at least 2 hours, or overnight. I did overnight.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Cupcake Dough


Once your dough has cooled, pinch off pieces and drop into greased (Pam to the rescue!) cupcake foils and spread evenly along the bottom of the foil/paper cups.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Stick A Fork In It


Once the dough is evenly spread in the holders, poke a fork in the bottom of each so that it just is vented. Don’t make holes, just a slight, light poke with the fork in each cupcake. Bake (still at 410) for about 12 minutes, turn the oven off and let sit in the oven 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: A Loaf Of Leftover


I actually had enough dough leftover for a small loaf pan to have on the bottom as well. I poked the fork in the bottom of this dough as well, but didn’t go too overboard. Bake this same as the cupcakes. 🙂

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Baked Tartlets


Once baked, the tartlets will be slightly browned (like our butter earlier), and I will say – the foil cupcake wrappers browned way quicker then the silicone-and-paper-wrapper tartlets. Just so you know. Also, since I was going to assemble in the morning, I covered the tartlets with a towel (okay fine, I used my baking apron that I rarely actually wear, cuz it is longer than my dish towel) and let sit overnight.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Cream of the Tart


When you are ready to assemble, stir your pastry cream a few times, then drop dollops on top of the tartlets. Once they are all covered (and the excess on top of your loaf pan tart if you have that), let sit while you slice the fruit. I did a veritable rainbow of fruit…

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Green Fruit


I sliced 1 peeled kiwi into tiny pieces. Placed in a bowl.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Purple Fruit


Then I quartered about 1/2 quart of blackberries and added to the kiwi.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Red Fruit


Then I sliced up 1/2 a quart of topless strawberries and added those to the mix. Ooh la la.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Yellow Fruit


Finally I sliced a banana (halfways, then halfways again, then diced), and topped that on the fruit mix.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Sweeten the Deal


Finally, I added in 1/4 cup of brown sugar and mixed that evenly with the fruit, until well mixed but not abusing the fruit.

And last on the list – topping the tartlets with the fruit!

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Fruity Tart Loaf


Mini Fruit Tartlets: Side View of the Loaf


Mini Fruit Tartlets: Cupcake Tartlets, assembled!

Word of warning though – once you remove the paper holders from the silicone, I recommend you be careful because, as one victim — **ahem** coworker — found out, they are slippery like oysters if you’re not careful picking them up! 🙂

So that is my Mini Fruit Tartlets, and I must say, my coworkers really seemed to enjoy them. Even the ones who don’t like sweets, or didn’t like the idea of fruit on top of a custard-tart. And they made me, personally, a fantastic breakfast, too! 😉

So let me know if you like these if you try them out. Until then…

Craft You Later & TGIF!
Beth

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