The rural area where I grew up was rather unremarkable except for two features: the alligator farm off exit 15, where you could watch barrel-chested lads wrestle the angry lizards, and acres upon acres of lush strawberry fields. Diving into a giant bowl of freshly-picked berries smothered over buscuity shortcake and topped with heavenly whipped cream was one of my greatest childhood delights. Chef Steve Brockman helps me elevate that simple pleasure with a shortcake infused with almond and orange zest – just in time for another favorite childhood celebration marked by sparklers and exploding fireworks. Mmmmmm… I know what I’ll be feasting on this Independence Day.
Serves approximately 10.
|1 ½ c||sugar|
|½ t||baking powder|
|1 c||sliced almonds|
|zest of 4 oranges|
|1 pt||heavy whipping cream|
|sugar, to taste
fresh mint (optional)
- Mix butter and sugar until it reaches a creamy consistency.
- Add eggs, zest, salt, baking powder and amaretto. Mix well.
- Add flour. Mix well.
- Spread onto a sheet pan.
- Lightly beat egg whites and brush on batter.
- Spread and press almonds into dough.
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Cut into 3 inch squares and reserve.
Strawberries & Cream
- Clean, stem and quarter strawberries. Lightly sugar to taste.
- Prepare whipped cream. (Here’s a trick: put all your utensils for whipped cream in the freezer for 15 minutes before preparing.)
(For a particular festive touch, add some blueberries to make it a red-white-and-blue affair.)
Putting it Together
- Slice cake lengthwise in half, place bottom on plate.
- Cover with half a cup of berries and top with whipped cream. Place almond cake on top and garnish with mint sprig.