Monday 6 August 2012

Recipe: Strawberry Shortbread Dessert

After seeing some inspiration for pastels and strawberry desserts online over the weekend, I was craving a little pick me up that was easy to make, yet BEYOND delicious to satisfy my sweet cravings. So this little afternoon tea treat was just the ticket.

I had been having a good old poke around through my new baking books, of which I have many that I haven’t yet used, feeling more and more inspired (and hungry for sugar!) the deeper I delved. However, In the end, I just couldn’t resist this simple all butter shortbread recipe from the Good Food website, good old BBC as always : )

I did think to myself that after all these ridiculously fancy recipes I had been flicking through they just didn’t match this perhaps, too simple recipe, of which did slightly bore me on this particular day. Sometimes a biscuit is just that, a biscuit... am I right?!

So I decided to turn my shortbread biscuits into fun heart shapes and make them the base for a beautiful and summery dessert instead...

I added a sweet whipped cream and fresh strawberries to the biscuits and layered them to make a dessert to rival most simple supermarket sweet fixes, it is perfect as a show stopper for a dinner party, even as a pudding for a BBQ (come rain or shine, come on, this IS England!) or just to store in the fridge and nibble on as and when you fancy a quick sweet fix in front of the TV with your fave show or a quick *healthy*- ahem!... and filling treat whilst cheering on our beloved Olympians for the next week or so...! It lasts a couple of days at most, due to the fresh cream in the mix, however I am pretty sure if your household is anything like mine, they won’t last past the day you make them hehe.

Shortbread Recipe: 

125g Unsalted Butter (at room temp works best)
55g Caster Sugar
180g Plain Flour (sifted) 
300ml Double Cream
4* Tablespoons Icing Sugar *(Approx) 
200g Fresh Strawberries


Heat the oven to 190*c/Gas Mark 5 (Does anybody still use Gas Marks?!...) 

Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth, then stir in the flour to get a smooth paste (this doesn’t take too long or too much work to achieve). Turn on to a work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1cm/Half inch thick. 

Cut into good sized rounds or any shape of your choice (I went for hearts : ) and place onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with icing sugar or granulated sugar and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes until firm. (If you have any leftover, you could make mini shortbreads instead of throwing away the excess... I added a few choc chips to mine to try and they were delicious!)

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (Mine took only 15 and still were a little more browner than I would have liked so my advice would be to check after 10 minutes, especially for smaller shapes) and then allow to cool on a wire rack. 

Once cool, you can take 3 biscuits per serving and make your Strawberry & cream filling. 

Simply whip the Double Cream (you want a soft peak to your cream, not too stiff) and add a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar to the cream, to sweeten it to your taste.

Get hold of one biscuit and spread a generous layer of the cream mix to the top.
Finely slice a punnet of strawberries and add a generous layer of slices to the cream layer on the biscuit. Add a thin spreading of cream to the underside of the next biscuit and place it cream-side down on top of the strawberries to sandwich them inside. 

Then for another messy bit... add a little more cream onto the top of the second biscuit, and some more strawberries, then finally a thin layer on the underside of the third biscuit which you can then press lightly onto the very top for the third (and last) layer. 

If you want to be vain for photographic purposes (like me ; ), perhaps dust a little icing sugar on the very top and add a sliced strawberry, fanned across the top of your dessert for your viewing pleasure. 

Now stop faffing and go and enjoy eating this gorgeous, yet simple afternoon tea treat...

Miss Sue Flay 

NB. This shortbread recipe found at BBC Good Food website (the Strawberries & Cream filling has been made up by myself and added to make this more than just a biscuit : )

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