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As temperatures start to rise and the sun starts to shine, most people get out and enjoy spring.
Many chefs, though, love spring for reasons unrelated to the weather. For Andy Husbands, chef and owner of Boston's Tremont 647, spring is a time to get some fresh local produce.
"For me, when I start thinking spring, of course asparagus is jumping into my mind. But, really what I always get really excited for is strawberries," Husbands told Radio Boston's Meghna Chakrabarti.
The Copley Square Farmers Market is enough to make anyone excited for Husbands' vision of spring.
"We just had the best strawberry ever," Husband said, at the market. "There's no reason to gild the lily here, the lily is just fine."
The strawberries looked plump and juicy. And the Mass. Farmers Markets kicks off their 4th Annual Strawberry Dessert festival Friday. What does that all add up to? One heck of a delicious Strawberry Shortcake.
Take The Shortcake
"If you're going to make any dessert, go big or go home," Kate Burchman, Tremont 647's pastry chef, said.
The recipe calls for cream and shortening, so we definitely went big. And if this dessert was always at the restaurant, we'd never want to go home.
Husbands and Birchman add a special ingredient to their shortcake. Lavender. But just a pinch.
"If you add too much it tastes like potpourri, it tastes like someone's underwear drawer," Husbands said. "I'm not really into it."
In the end, the experts added just the right amount and finished with a fantastic product. The pastry was light and dreamy, with just a bit of crunch. The strawberries were sweet and juicy. And the sauce was devine.
"That's what you want: textures and flavors all kind of complimentary yet all kind of pushing back from each other," Husbands said. "Like, 'here I am creamy, here I am crunchy. And yet, we work together.'"
Teamwork never tasted so good.
- Andy Husabands, chef, owner, Tremont 647
- Kate Burchman, pastry chef, Tremont 647
- WBUR's Public Radio Kitchen
Atlas Farms Strawberry Shortcake (PDF)
Yum. For this you will need 1 quart of Atlas Farms (or any local farm) strawberries, 1 cup whipped cream, and the below recipes.
Slice All strawberries (reserving 4 four syrup), slice the shortcakes horizontally, evenly distribute the sliced strawberries on each bottom slice, drizzle with syrup, top with about a tablespoon of whipped cream, and place the shortcake back on top.
KATHERINE’S SHORTCAKE RECIPE
Yield: 8 shortcakes
2 CUPS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
4 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER
¾ TEASPOON SEA-SALT
½ TABLESPOON GRANULATED SUGAR
½ TABLESPOON LIGHT BROWN SUGAR
3 TABLESPOONS BUTTER
1 TABLESPOON SHORTENING
¾ CUP HALF & HALF (plus an extra ¼ cup reserved for brushing)
½ TEASPOON VANILLA EXTRACT
¼ CUP SANDING/COARSE SUGAR
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sea-salt, and sugars.
3. Cut butter and shortening into the dries, so that you have pea-sized pieces of fat throughout the dry ingredients.
4. Add ¾ cup half & half and vanilla and mix in until just combined.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to ½-1” thickness. Using a medium-sized, fluted cutter, cut out shortcakes and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Brush the tops of the shortcakes with half & half and sprinkle sanding sugar on top of cakes.
7. Bake shortcakes for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
For the syrup:
½ cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp dried lavender
1 half vanilla bean fleck, split down the middle and scraped
1 pinch salt
4 strawberries, stems removed
Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium high heat and simmer for 5 minutes, strain and let cool. Use immediately or place in air tight container and refrigerate until needed. Will last up to 2 weeks.
This segment aired on June 10, 2011.
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