The Food Groupie Club

Hi my name is Sarah and I'm addicted to food. I have been a chef professionally for about 12 years now and am currently teaching cooking classes at a culinary school. I seriously love to cook and eat good food. The problem with cooking and eating like the professionals though is that it can be kind of intimidating for a home food enthusiast. My goal is to bring good food into every-day homes. Anyone can make healthy, good quality, good tasting, and good looking food with the right know-how. So here you made easy by a professional!

I will be featuring some of my favorite chef's recipes in my posts and will note in the post what book was used. Their books that I use will be listed in my must have cookbooks tab.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Strawberry Sorbet Shortcakes With Sweetened Creme Fraiche Sauce

Thomas Keller The French Laundry Cookbook Page 274

If you love strawberry shortcake, you need to try this. Its a different take on the old classic, but I like it better. The original just calls for tossing strawberries in sugar and piling it on top of a biscuit then topping with whipped cream. This pulls a frozen component into it and the creme fraiche sauce makes it feel a little more grown up.  It makes shortcake more sophisticated.

Step 1: Make the Sorbet
The recipe for this is included in the text

You will need an ice cream maker for this one to make it easy. If you don't have one, you can just use 2 metal bowls (1 large & 1 medium). Fill the larger one with a lot of ice and ice cream salt. Put the sorbet mix in the smaller bowl and push the bowl down into the ice mixture. Just hold a spatula in the mixture and spin the bowl, this imitates the churning. I do this all the time at school because we have 20 students per class and only 1 ice cream machine. We have to get creative on ice cream week. I have the ice cream bowl attachment for my kitchen aid mixer. I love it because I just keep it in the freezer until I'm ready to use it and I don't have to have an extra appliance taking up space in my kitchen. It works great.  The Sorbet was SO STINKIN' EASY to make. Are you ready for me to blow your mind on this one? Take 2 1/2 pounds of strawberries (about 3.5 pint baskets) and cram it into your blender with 1 c of sugar and puree until smooth. T.K. says to strain it, he's a big strainer. I like things to have texture occasionally, so I leave it as is with the seeds. It feels more like eating a strawberry. Then add 1/4 cup of honey and a pinch of kosher salt. I strayed from T.K.'s recipe and added the zest from 1 lemon. Lemon and strawberry...... can't go wrong on that. Then freeze it in the ice cream machine until thick like soft serve. Pour it into a bowl and let it freeze in your freezer until its thick enough to scoop and hold a shape. See, SO STINKIN' EASY right? Speaking of strawberries....... we are in the peak of strawberries. GET THEM FROM THE FARMER'S STANDS! My favorite stand is the one by Honda North on Herndon between Willow and Peach. The flavor will knock your socks off.

Step 2: Make the shortcakes

1 1/2 c. All purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. Baking soda
4 Tbs. Cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 c. Buttermilk
2 Tbs. Milk

Basic buttermilk biscuits. No big mystery or secret here. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then rub the cold butter into it with your fingertips until it resembles small peas in size. Add the milks, and stir just to combine. Once combined, stop mixing, otherwise the dough can get tough.  This recipe didn't puff up very much. Not sure if I did something wrong or not, but actually it ended up being just enough biscuit in the end. Even if they are thin, do not be tempted to just use 2 biscuits (one for the top, one on the bottom) Split one biscuit. I promise, its enough. Oh I do have a tip. Roll the dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper if you have it. Less messy.
Step 3: Creme Fraiche Sauce

3/4 c. Creme fraiche
1 1/2 Tbs. Powder sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp. Vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

I didn't think a picture was necessary on this one as it was just whisking 3 ingredients together in a bowl.  The recipe calls for creme fraiche. This is a french version of sour cream. It more closely resembles thick cream though. If you have seen it in the store its about $7 for what I think is only a 1/2 pint container. Its ridiculous. You can make it yourself if you plan ahead. All you do is warm heavy cream to about 100 degrees. Should just be warm. Add a little buttermilk to it and let it sit in a bowl at room temperature overnight. It will thicken from the cultures in the buttermilk. Once thick, store it in the fridge. You can read more about creme fraiche and see the recipe on the joy of baking  website. If you just want to do a quick substitute you can just use sour cream thinned out with a little milk. Let me be clear: it is not the same thing, just an adequate substitute. I used sour cream in this recipe.  All you do for this sauce is whisk together creme fraiche (or sour cream), vanilla, and powdered sugar to taste. If you use sour cream you will need to thin it out with a little milk until saucy and pourable. That's all there is to this simple little sauce. 

If you like dipping your strawberries in sour cream, you'll love this. If you have never dipped your strawberries in sour cream, you should start. Mix a little brown sugar into the sour cream though, makes it better.

Step 4: Assemble

Small dice about 3/4-1 cup of fresh strawberries. Will use in assembly in step 4.
  1. Cut biscuit in half
  2. Pour a little of the sauce in the center of the plate to make a circle shaped puddle. Place the biscuit bottom on top of the sauce.
  3. Cut up fresh strawberries into small dice (if they aren't sweet enough you may need to toss them in a little sugar. If you are using the farmer's stand strawberries you probably won't need any extra sugar.) Put a small scoop of the diced strawberries on top of the biscuit
  4. Place a scoop of sorbet on top of the strawberries (can use an ice cream scoop or make a quenelle out of two spoons. Click here to see a demonstration. I prefer the quenelle because its a lot more appropriate for fancier desserts. Ice cream scoops are too casual and won't fit as nicely in between the biscuits.
  5. Place top of biscuit on top of sorbet. Sprinkle powdered sugar over biscuit.
  6. Last step, probably the hardest. Devour it!
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