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Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

A teatime treat fit for the Queen.

Celebrations for the Queens 90th Birthday got underway a couple of months ago when Beacons were lit across the UK at 8pm on the 21st April. Mr and Mrs Francis Dymoke kindly hosted the Beacon Lighting for our area at Scrivlesby. It was a terrific evening with a wonderful community atmosphere and an opportunity to look around the historic St Benedict’s Church. The beacon was magnificent and we were treated to an impressive fireworks display at the end of the evening complete with a full moon lighting the night sky.
For the Queens official birthday, there are events being held this weekend all over the country and locally. Horncastle has a packed programme of events. To open the weekend of celebrations, on the Friday night Stanhope Hall will be hosting a concert by Banovallum Brass. Saturday will see a Grand Parade of Floats and entries for the fancy dress parade. This commences at Banovallum School at 10.30am and makes its way through town to the Grammar School, where judging will take place at approximately midday.
On the Sunday morning there will be a Big British Breakfast held at Stanhope Hall between 9am and 11am. A Children’s “Street Party” will be from 3pm -5pm complete with Children’s Entertainer, Face Painter and Party Treats.
My recipe this month is for a good old fashioned Strawberry Shortcake.  It is perfect if you are having your own Birthday tea fit for a Queen!

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 2 large punnets of strawberries, approximately 1 ½ lb after taking the stalks off

  • 2 Tbsp Caster Sugar

  • 8oz Self Raising Flour

  • Pinch salt

  • 3oz  Marg

  • 3oz Caster Sugar

  • 1 local free range egg

  • 2 Tbsp Milk

  • Big pot double cream (approx. 600ml)

  • 4oz Icing Sugar

  • 1tsp vanilla paste

Method

  • Destalk and wash strawberries. Carefully dry and choose 14 best strawberries and slice top to bottom to give nice heart shaped slices. Put on a plate for later.

  • Put the remaining strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle 2 tbsp sugar on top and mash up a bit with a fork, put to one side for later

  • Preheat fan oven to 180c and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

  • Sift flour and salt together and then rub in the margarine until  a breadcrumb texture

  • Stir in sugar and then add in egg and milk. Mix it together and lightly knead to make cohesive dough.

  • Roll mixture out on a floured worktop, roll to just over the depth of a £1 coin. You should get 28 biscuits out of the mixture.

  • Space out on the baking trays, as they do rise a little bit.

  • Bake for 12-15 minutes; keep a close eye on them. They should be light brown.

  • When done, cool completely on the trays on cooling racks.

  • Whisk  double cream with a hand whisk until stiff peaks

  • Then whisk in 4oz sieved icing sugar and the tsp of vanilla paste.

  • Strain the liquid from the mushed up strawberries, as they will have released a lot of juice and stir the strawberry mush into the cream.

  • Put the pink creamy mixture in the fridge; try not to eat it at this stage!

  • When your shortbread is completely cold, choose the best 14 biscuits for the top.

  • Choose 14 best slices of strawberry for the top decoration.

  • Put a layer of sliced strawberry over the bottom biscuit.

  • Spread a generous layer of the cream mixture on the underside of the top biscuit and then sandwich together with the bottom strawberry covered biscuit.

  • Carefully spread another layer of creamy mixture on the top of the sandwiched biscuit and decorate with a slice of strawberry.

  • Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.

  • You will probably have some of the cream mixture left over; you could use this as a delicious filling for a Victoria Sandwich. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

  • Chill your shortbreads in the fridge until needed. You should have 14 very attractive Strawberry Shortbreads. I hope you have a wonderful weekend celebrating our beloved

 Queens  90th Birthday!
Sadie Hirst is a multi award winning artisan baker and a member of Select Lincolnshire and the British Society of Baking. She is a regular monthly columnist for The Target Food and Drink Column and Good Taste Magazine. For all of Sadie’s previous recipes, please visit www.rjhirstfamilybutchers.co.uk You can follow her on Twitter Sadie Hirst@RJHirstfamilybutchers

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