Happy Strawberry Shortcake Day, folks. I just came back from a party dipped in pink princess awesomeness, and it was so splendid. I do miss pink and sparkly every now and then, but I wouldn’t change what I’ve got for anything.
That said, I am building a tower of pink pinkness that will satisfy my girly craving for the one color I don’t have very much of in my own home. The extra meringue layer I am sneaking into my strawberry shortcakes is flavored and colored with freeze-dried strawberries reduced to a fine powder and folded in. The meringues come out so flavorful and sooooPINK! Just what I wanted!
1 c. freeze dried strawberries (I use the sliced ones found at Trader Joe’s)
2 egg whites
1/2 c. sugar
A few drops of lemon juice
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to the lowest setting (250F or lower is ideal).
Place the strawberries in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are powdered. You should have about 5 Tbsp. Set aside.
Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl and set over a double boiler. Heat the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until the temperature reaches 140F. Remove from the heat and transfer to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add the lemon juice and whip on high speed until the mixture cools to room temperature and a stiff meringue is achieved. Add the vanilla and mix just until combined.
Fold the strawberry powder in with a rubber spatula.
Using a bag fitted with a plain piping tip, pipe six flat discs of meringue onto a paper-lined sheet pan. Pipe a bunch of little kisses with the rest of the meringue. Great for garnish, great for snacking.
Bake until the meringues are crisp and dry, but remove before they begin to brown around the edges, about 45-60 minutes, depending on the lowest setting on your oven.
1 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp very cold butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the first five ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until a very coarse meal forms. Add the yolks and cream and pulse until it forms a rough dough. Remove the dough and knead gently to form a cohesive dough. Chill for 30 minutes. Flatten the dough to 1/2″ thickness and cut with a circle cutter (these discs should be about the same size as the meringue discs). Bake until light golden, about 15-18 minutes.
2 pints fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
2 Tbsp. brandy
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
Toss all three ingredients together in a bowl and allow to macerate for a few minutes.
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
Whip to medium-stiff peaks.
Cut the shortcakes in half (horizontally). Place the bottom piece on a plate and top with a generous scoop of strawberries and juice. Top with an equal amount of whipped cream. Place a meringue disc atop the whipped cream, then top with another scoop of strawberries and cream. Place the top the shortcake on top. Garnish with a bit more cream and some meringue kisses.