Here’s the coolest of recipes for hot summer days. Our good friend Chef Pam Brown, founder and longtime owner of the Garden Café on the Green in Woodstock, used to serve this dessert all the time to her delighted customers.  These cakes will freeze well if you wrap them in plastic wrap and foil, then warm in the oven for about 6 minutes just before serving. With ice cream or the coconut whipped cream, the warm cakes are absolutely delicious!  Don’t put the cakes together, though, until you are ready to serve them. Enjoy!

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached flour

½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup unrefined sugar

1 ½ tablespoons baking powder

1 ½ sticks pre-frozen Earth Balance Buttery Sticks cut in very small cubes

About ½ cup non-dairy milk (Pam uses coconut milk)

2 pints strawberries, rinsed, stemmed and sliced

2 tablespoons unrefined sugar

2 tablespoons strawberry jam

Organic canola or safflower oil for spraying pan, or parchment paper

1 pint vanilla non-dairy ice cream or So Delicious Dairy-free CocoWhip

A few sprigs of mint

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Pour the dry ingredients into the food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times to combine well. Distribute the Earth Balance cubes around the flour. Pulse until the Earth Balance forms small pieces, like grains of sand.  Slowly pour in the milk and pulse until the dough comes together into a crumbly ball.  Place a few overlapping pieces of plastic wrap side-by-side on the counter and pour the dough out onto it.  Bring the plastic wrap up around the dough forming a loose round ball.  Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ hour.
  3. Mix the strawberries, sugar, and jam together and set aside. The mixture will become syrupy.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Line a low-sided baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray well with the organic canola or safflower oil.  Using a ⅓-cup measuring cup, scoop the dough out onto the baking sheet. Flatten each cake a little. Continue with remaining seven cakes.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Slice each shortcake in half and spoon on the syrupy mix. Top with ice cream or whipped cream, then add the top half of the shortcake and repeat. Garnish with mint and serve immediately.

Tips

  1. “It is important to freeze the Earth Balance as it works differently than butter,” cautions Pam. “It is a little sticky as it warms, so I sprinkle the stick with a little flour,” she says.  “If you are not making this immediately, keep it frozen. If you need more liquid, add a tablespoon at a time.”
  2. Usually, this recipe makes 8 cakes. If you would like more, smaller shortcakes, use a ¼-cup measuring cup instead of the ⅓-cup measuring cup. For larger cakes, use a ½-inch measuring cup. (These are the stacked measuring cups that usually come as a set).
  3. “There are no rules here once you get the basic technique down,” says Pam. Adding lemon zest or shredded dried coconut into the dough makes a delicious biscuit. Pam often adds blueberries or other berries to the strawberry mixture. You can add peeled peaches but they have to be precooked. Chopped nuts added to the biscuit dough adds a rich flavor.