Short and Sweet Strawberry Shortcake

Short and Sweet Strawberry Shortcake

Fresh, summery strawberry shortcake that is low-lactose (only dairy is butter), gluten-free, and made with zero gums! Light on sugar and low-FODMAP, too?-YES!

By DeliberateFare.com, variation of Southern Living's strawberry shortcake

My Mr. Wonderful is not a fan of cakes. However, this year, for his birthday, he requested a fresh, summery strawberry shortcake with a whipped cream topping that he could eat (he is very dairy intolerant with the exception of butter). Why was my main man requesting a shortcake when he dislikes, wait, abhors cake? Well, a true shortcake is not a cake at all. It is a blend between an English scone and southern buttermilk biscuit. When baked right, it is tender with a lovely, not too sweet flavor. I was happy to oblige, knowing that I had had a history of shortcake success under my belt. You see, I have been making strawberry shortcake since I was a teenager, baking them for my friends and family and even my sister's high school friends!

My success was prior to having to work around any food issues. When life's recipes could be short and sweet.

After researching and playing with many recipes over the entire month of June, I decided to return to my old standby, Southern Living, and see what would happen if I simply altered that good, old-fashioned recipe by replacing the flour with a Gluten-Free Flour Blend, replacing milk with Almond Milk, and replacing the whipped cream with a non-dairy whipped cream. After a few trials, it was a tremendous success!

Things I have learned: (1) Coconut whipped cream is very fickle. The only canned coconut milk/cream that I have been able to work well into a cream have gums, which are very hard for some people (yours truly) to digest. (2) Although gluten-free shortcakes do not have gluten, they can still become tough if their dough is overworked prior to baking. A gentle, quick hand is in order. (3) Given the lack of gluten, shortcakes need to cool completely in their pans before being removed; otherwise, the risk of cracking is pretty high. (4) The extra sugar that is added to many whipped creams and strawberries is really unnecessary and takes away from the freshness of the dessert...plus, too much sugar in strawberries makes them loose definition and become runny. No one likes a soggy shortcake.

Update November 2016: We have successfully made Gum-Free Coconut Whipped Cream. I am so anxious for summer to roll around to make our Strawberry Shortcake with the Whipped Cream in place of the Almond Cream. Will keep y'all posted.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups gluten-free flour blend (I use Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend from Gluten-Free Girl)
  • 4 tsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup raw, granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cold, unsalted butter, diced
  • ½ cup Almond Milk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 1 Tbsp raw, granulated sugar for dusting (or caster sugar, if on-hand)
  • 1 cup Almond Cream
  • 1Tbsp powdered sugar (I use Imperial Sugar)
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup

METHOD

    For Dough
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Parchment line two 9-inch round baking pans. Grease pan and paper with either butter or coconut oil. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, add flour, ground flax seed, baking powder, salt, and ¼ cup sugar. Combine well with fork.
  4. Add to bowl cold butter. Using pastry blender, work butter into dry ingredients until it resembles small peas.
  5. In small bowl, add milk and egg yolks. Mix well with fork.
  6. Make a well in the dry ingredients bowl. Add to well hole the wet ingredients. Combine ingredients using fork and or spatula until it forms a sticky dough. Do not overmix. There should be good-sized clumps of butter.
  7. Take dough into hands and quickly form a ball. Divide ball into halves.
  8. Pat each dough half into a reserved, greased and lined pan. Work quickly so as not to melt butter. Dough will not fill the entire bottom surface of the pan; that is OK.
  9. Fit standing mixer with whisk attachment. Add to mixer bowl egg whites. Beat whites at high speed for a minute and a half or so or until stiff peaks form (it should look like meringue). Turn off mixer.
  10. Divide whipped egg whites into two halves. Pour each white half onto the patted dough in the pans. Spread whites across dough surface using silicon spatula. Work gently to press dough toward the inner edge of the pans, thus filling any gaps previously created.
  11. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp sugar over surface of whites.
  12. Place both pans into preheated oven and bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Remove pans from oven and turn off oven. Allow pans to cool on wire cooling rack for 20 minutes or more.
  14. Gently remove shortcakes from pans and remove parchment. Discard parchment.
    For Fillings
  15. Remove Almond Cream from refrigerator. Add to cream powdered sugar; combine well with fork. Allow to set at room temperature while processing strawberries.
  16. Thoroughly wash strawberries. Hull each one to remove stem and leaves; discard stem and leaves.
  17. Slice each strawberry vertically into halves and then horizontally into fourths. Place slices into large bowl.
  18. Add to bowl of strawberries maple syrup. Mix with hands and set aside.
  19. For Shortcakes Assembly
  20. Onto large platter or cake plate, place one shortcake, bottom side down.
  21. Divide Almond Cream into two halves. Using silicon spatula, spread one half of cream onto top surface of shortcake.
  22. Divide strawberries into two halves. Using spoon, place strawberries atop cream.
  23. Place second shortcake atop other decorated shortcake, bottom side down.
  24. Repeat cream and strawberry placement on this second half.
  25. Chill completed shortcake in refrigerator for two hours before serving to your birthday boy!

SUGGESTIONS

  • If you have a great dairy-free whipped cream recipe that you prefer, simply substitute that for the Almond Cream.
  • If using Almond Cream, remember that the almonds need to soak overnight, so plan ahead.
  • This recipe is best when served cold. I know, I almost never like dishes fresh from the refrigerator, but trust me, this one is best chilly. Chill at least two hours prior to serving.
  • Shortcake freezes surprisingly well. Cut shortcake into several portions, wrap each portion in plastic wrap followed by foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in refrigerator before serving.
  • Store shortcake for up to two days in refrigerator. Any longer, and the strawberries will loose their structure.
  • Migraine Warning: Nuts (almond milk and almond cream).
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