We had a lovely Mother’s Day lunch at my parents house with a delicious spread of build-your-own sandwiches, homemade potato salad, asparagus and tomato salad, chips, onion dip, strawberries and sweetened cream for dipping… it was delicious!
I was put in charge of dessert and though I changed my plan about 10 times over the course of the week, I stayed focused on using strawberries, even when my organic produce delivery came with a curve ball… cherries instead of strawberries! Unbelievable! The hubby was kind enough to track down a strawberry stand while running errands on Saturday and pick up a few baskets. I have to say, the strawberries were not very impressive this year. I’ve been disappointed. But I had already made a plan and I had to stick to it.
I finally settled on the idea of making strawberry shortcake. But, I had also had my heart set on making a trifle… and not the strawberry and brownie trifle that I always make. So I thought, why not do a strawberry shortcake trifle? The idea was good. The outcome was just okay to be honest. I’ve had this recipe for shortcakes for so long that I forgot where it came from. The shortcakes were good, but not remarkable – even with the addition of vanilla and swapping of lemon peel for orange. I would have liked something a little sweeter, but that might just be my wicked sweet tooth? They tasted more like light scones to me… though it made a beautiful dough.
The presentation was good, but not outstanding. Hindsight always teaches me a lot. I would have made more whipped cream and maybe done more layers. And I was in a hurry. No time for a pretty garnish! Either way, it was good and paired nicely with vanilla bean ice cream. The crowd didn’t seem disappointed at all, so I guess it wasn’t a total failure.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For shortcakes, in a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, the 2 tablespoons sugar, and baking powder. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture.
In a small mixing bowl stir together the egg, half and half, lemon (or orange) peel and vanilla. Add the egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Using a fork, stir until just moistened.
Turn the dough only a lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough for 10 to 12 strokes or until dough is nearly smooth. Pat the dough into a 6 inch square. Using a floured knife, cut the square into nine 2-inch squares. Then cut each square diagonally in half.
Place triangles on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the tops with beaten egg white and lightly sprinkle with coarse or granulated sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove triangles from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, toss sliced strawberries, sugar and Grand Marnier and chill.
When ready to assemble, beat whipping cream with a dash of sugar. Add vanilla if desired. Layer shortcake triangles, whipping cream and strawberry in layers in a trifle dish. Serve immediately with vanilla bean ice cream.