If you are travelling through the Irish countryside at this time of year, there is no doubt you will come across one or two Wexford Strawberry stands set up alongside the roads at some point during your adventure. The quaint little set-ups (which also often carry new potatoes) can be found virtually anywhere at anytime, but not necessarily the same place on a regular basis and many times not even located in Wexford. Nevertheless, spotting these mini-markets on our family journeys or chaperoning visitors is a sure reminder that summer is right around the corner…even if the weather is not cooperating!

Either way, this is strawberry season both here and in America and I relish the many, many recipes for which strawberries are the main attraction. Strawberry pie, strawberry cake, fresh strawberry ice cream……but, for me, the most classic and Americana nostalgia-inducing treat would be good old-fashioned strawberry shortcake.

Of course, growing up I had more than my fair share of the spongy, store-bought, Twinkie-esque shortcakes that really weren’t shortcakes at all, which was fine because for us kids they were just as yummy and refreshing when topped of with fresh strawberries and whipped cream after a long day at the beach.

HOWEVER, once I discovered the crumbly, biscuit-y version there was no turning back. And, for that I must thank Martha Stewart.

And now, to make it even better than ever…I top off my favorite strawberry shortcake recipe with fresh Irish strawberries which always seem endlessly sweet and juicy.

The strawberries I used for this particular batch are indeed from Wexford and come from a group of lovely farmers who have formed a cooperative and built their own brand called “Sunny Wexford Strawberries”. They are absolutely gorgeous.

These farmers believe that the sun shines stronger in Wexford, hence the sweeter and juicier the berry. Hmmm, may have to go spend a long weekend here again just to verify this information!

If you are in Ireland and a fellow strawberry lover, you may want to nip into the Wexford Strawberry Festival which is happening over the 24-26th June weekend. If I wasn’t signed up to churn butter at the Totally Tipperary Food Festival I would definitely be there!

So, first I washed and hulled about six cups of the fresh strawberries

Baked the scrummy shortcakes

And then topped off the shortcake with fresh strawberry + orange zest glaze and freshly whipped vanilla cream!

The perfect summer treat!

Wexford Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients

6 cups Wexford (or any local, fresh) strawberries, rinsed, hulled (and sliced if you prefer)

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons/300 g sugar

Zest of one Clementine orange

3 cups/ 450 g all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder (only use 3 if you are using Irish)

3/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons cold (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 cups/ 500 ml heavy cream

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F/190 C. In a medium bowl, toss strawberries with 3/4 cup sugar and orange zest; let sit to bring out their juices.

In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup sugar, and the salt until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cream and the eggs; pour over flour mixture, and pulse until some large clumps begin to form.

Using a small measuring cup, deep cookie or scone cutter, gently tap out onto a baking sheet. Repeat to form 8 biscuits. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool, about 15 minutes.

Beat remaining 1 1/2 cups cream and 2 tablespoons sugar with the vanilla until soft peaks form.

Leave biscuits whole or slice in half horizontally. Spoon strawberries and their liquid over biscuit. Spoon whipped cream on strawberries and serve.

Enjoy!

Slan Abhaile,

Imen

Photos and styling by Imen McDonnell. Shortcake Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

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