Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Abigail's Strawberry Shortcakes

When I was a child, I remember Hanna Barbera's "Wait til your Father gets home" being on the telly.  I'm sure it was entertaining but literally, all I can remember is the title.  The meaning was slightly lost on me at the time as I never had the fear (or joy) of my father coming home.  But now it resonates as I've become that parent coming home to face the needs of Miss A.

I can pretty much guarantee now that whenever she's been subjected to Daddy DayCare, at some point, he will have used the 'Wait until Mummy gets home and then you can...' line on her.  Having a child generally makes crap days at work (like the one I had today) worthwhile.  But boy, I could've done without coming home to 'but Daddy said we could make Strawberry Crown' when I finally got in after a twelve hour day.

The fragrant Katie of 'I Can Cook' fame is to blame for this one.  We're going through a princess phase at the moment.  Yesterday this was a bonus as I managed to get Miss A's hair brushed twice without tears because I've been telling her for months that princesses have their hair brushed 100 times.  She finally succumbed to this yesterday, but I paid the price tonight because princesses must eat Strawberry Crown for pudding when they've been good all day.

Not being in the mood for soothing another tantrum (that's all I've done all day today - and I've had a few of my own too!) I gave in way too easily and soon we were in a happy, sticky, floury mess of a kitchen.
Cooked by my favourite chef!

In essence, it's a shortbread biscuit, topped with jam and strawberries and baked in the oven.  I never realised you could bake strawberries and they'd still come out pretty whole.  So I've learned something today.  It also got Miss A to eat something green because the jam is sprinkled with basil.  Okay so it was a tiny bit of green stuff but it was a new taste sensation for her.  And if I can convince her that lettuce is a kind of basil tomorrow then I'm getting somewhere.

Because I couldn't be bothered to dig out the original recipe, I just made my own base up and used almonds to give the shortbread a better texture.  Of course, they don't do that on the telly because of nut allergies.  I think it works well, but you can always substitute them with extra flour.  And to top it off, it's sprinkled with Demerara sugar.  I can't believe that Miss A was able to work out that soft brown sugar was not Demerara sugar when we were getting the ingredients out of the cupboard.  She's two.  This is slightly scary. If I'd not used up all my glitter stars making Dan Lepard's sparkly plum jam the other day I think we'd have used those instead as the 'gold' melted on cooking so we had to sprinkle more for decoration before serving.

Even the husband liked this one.  It's a great one for kids to make pretty much by themselves with a little bit of guidance.  If my two year old can do it, anyone can.

Serves 4 (adapted from I Can Cook)

100g plain flour
50g unsalted butter, cubed
50g ground almonds
25g caster sugar
8 strawberries - hulled and halved
4 generous teaspoons of good quality strawberry jam (we used Bonne Maman)
6 basil leaves, torn
Demerara sugar or edible glitter

Preheat the oven to 220c/200c fan
Put the butter and flour into a bowl and rub together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the almonds and sugar and bring together to form a soft dough.  You may need a little extra flour if the mixture is a little soft.
Divide the mixture into four.  Shape into balls and then flatten to about 1.5cm thick.  Place on a baking tray.
Make a dip in the middle using your knuckles and spread a teaspoon of jam into the centre of each biscuit.
Sprinkle the basil over the jam then top with the strawberries.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until the biscuit is starting to go golden brown.
Leave to cool then sprinkle with Demerara sugar or edible glitter and serve with creme fraiche, yogurt or ice cream.

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