Monday, August 13, 2012

Strawberry Shortcakes

Well, at long last,  here is the follow up in which the scones I made last week get incorporated into a tasty dessert.

I know that all of you have had strawberry shortcake a time or two, but this particular recipe I found to be a new version of and old classic.  First is a base of a sweet scone with chunks of almonds baked in.  Then you have the chocolate which really makes the dessert extra special.  The uniqueness to the chocolate ganache can be attributed to orange pekoe tea as well as Grand Marnier.  Also, shortcake is not shortcake without fluffy whipped cream.

Put all that together with some sweet strawberries and you have a pretty awesome combination.  A bite with a burst of strawberry juice and the rich, slightly orangey flavored chocolate enveloped in whipped cream was enough to win me over.

The good thing about this dessert is that you really have more than just one plating if you make all the components.  The scones are great on their own.  Should you not want to make the scones, break out two bowls, one with the whipped cream and one with the ganache and start dipping your strawberries! Also, feel free to put your own spin on this, such as passing on the tea and adding Amaretto and chopped almonds to the ganache. This recipe makes 8-10 shortcakes.

Strawberry Shortcakes
adapted from Dessert Circus at Home

8-10 Almond Breakfast scones (for recipe click here)
2 tbs of Grand Marnier
1 1/3 cups heavy cream (for ganache)
3 tbs orange pekoe tea
11 oz of bittersweet chocolate (chopped fine)
about 3 cups fresh strawberries
2 cups heavy cream (for whipped cream)
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Prepare your scones as directed in the recipe and let cool completely.  Then slice each into 2 layers.  Set aside.

To make the ganache, heat 1 1/3 cups of whipped cream with the tea in a small saucepan.  Stir and let the mixture cook until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat. Put the chopped chocolate in a medium size bowl.   Place a sieve over the bowl and pour in the cream/tea mixture.  Let the ingredients set for about 30 seconds and then stir until smooth and the chocolate is well blended with the cream.  You should have a thick, shiny and smooth ganache.  Add the Grand Marnier and mix until incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let cool for at least 4 hours at room temperature.  Once the mixture has reached the consistency of a thick frosting, is is ready to use.

Then hull and halve the strawberries and place in a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the whipped cream,  mix the 2 cups of heavy cream with the powdered sugar.  Then beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until thick and fluffy.  Take a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch star tip at the end and fill it with the whipped cream.

Place the bottom half of each scone on a plate. Spread ganache over the bottom halves, making a 1/4 inch layer. Then cover the ganache with a layer of strawberry halves. Top the halves with the whipped cream and cover with the top half of the scones.  Pipe a swirl of whipped cream on top and  lightly press 2 strawberry halves in the whipped cream.  Now it is ready to serve!

Tips and notes
1. If you are short on time you can cool the ganache by placing it in the fridge, check it periodically for the right consistency.  Mine took about 45 minutes to set up.
2. I put my chocolate bars in a food processor fitted with a grating blade, this aids in getting the chocolate to melt quickly and smoothly.

                        **LAST YEAR: Blue Cheese Crisps