If there was ever a Holzmann family signature dessert, this would be it: buttery whole wheat biscuit, mounds of sweetened whipped cream, and far more luscious, red strawberries than strictly necessary. It’s filling enough to make an entire meal, and at times (usually on Father’s Day) we’ve considered it one.
The story behind this amazing feast is from the 1970s. Teenaged Pete decided to ride his bike the 30+ miles to his aunt and uncle’s home in upstate New York. When he finally arrived, hot and hungry, a plate-sized strawberry shortcake was waiting to reward his efforts. I could tell from the way his eyes lit up every time this landmark event was mentioned, that creating a repeat performance would be enthusiastically welcomed. So I did. And it was.
This is the old-fashioned type of shortcake. Sponge cakes are good, but we prefer a rich, sweetened biscuit. In an effort to adapt it to my low-glycemic diet, I use whole wheat flour instead of white. It’s a bit more crumbly that way, but the flavor is just as good. I also use a sugar substitute, but you can do it either way.
Strawberry Shortcake Holzmann
(The shortcake part is adapted from an old copy of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.)
Begin by preheating the oven to 450°F. and putting the whipped cream bowl and beaters into the fridge to chill. Grease a cookie sheet (spraying with oil is fine). Now make the shortcake.
- 2 C whole wheat flour (pastry flour is best)
- 2 Tbsp. sugar or substitute (I use sucralose)
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt (opt.)
- 1/2 C chilled butter, cut in 8 pieces
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 C milk
Mix the dry ingredients together. Cut in butter pieces with a pastry blender, or use a food processor with the metal blade (much easier!). In a separate small bowl, beat the egg with a whisk, then whisk together the egg and milk. Add the milk and egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly; it’s easiest to use the food processor. The more you stir, the less crumbly—but tougher—the biscuits will be. Scoop out mounds to make eight individual shortcakes on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 450°F. for 15 to 18 minutes. Cool. (Extra shortcakes keep in the fridge, or wrap well and freeze for longer storage.)
While the shortcakes are baking, wash and hull a lot of strawberries. We figure about half a pound per person, but this is pretty much up to you. How much do you like strawberries?
I like to slice the berries; Pete prefers some to be mashed to release the juices. It’s totally a matter of opinion and preference. You can sweeten them if they need it. We reserve one huge berry for crowning each serving.
Making sure the cream, bowl, and beaters are cold, whip the cream with sweetener to taste until stiff peaks form. I like to add a dash of vanilla, too.
When the shortcakes have cooled to “pleasantly warm,” split each one and place it on a dessert plate. (I should mention that we use bowls, because we can mound more strawberries in them with them falling off.)
Pile strawberries on the cake bottom, then add a dollop of whipped cream. Add the shortcake top, spoon on more strawberries, add another generous dollop of cream, and finally, top with a huge berry guaranteed to impress. Serve before the cream melts too much onto the warm shortcake.