THE DESSERT – Homemade biscuits and homegrown fruit

By Ashley Buckowing

Strawberries are not just another fruit in Iowa. Just like apples, many people look forward to the opportunity to walk through the fields on a sunny afternoon and pick their own strawberries. There’s nothing better than fresh strawberries on a casual, sunny afternoon. And when it comes to putting them to good use in the kitchen, a homemade strawberry shortcake is the Iowan solution.

With fresh fruit, flaky biscuits and a scoop of ice cream, strawberry shortcake hits all the points of a great dessert.

With fresh fruit, flaky biscuits and a scoop of ice cream, strawberry shortcake hits all the points of a great dessert.

In many houses, creating delectable shortcake involves a friendly gathering in the kitchen, full of people from multiple generations armed with a variety of special family recipes, because there is no “right” way to prepare a shortcake. The mixture of warm, flaky biscuits with cold ice cream, airy whipped cream and sugar-soaked strawberries is a local favorite in many Iowa counties. Strawberry shortcake is a summertime treat mixed with homegrown memories.

But don’t let the whipped cream and fruit deceive you: This dessert is not exactly a light one, and any familiar Iowan will tell you strawberry shortcake is best devoured on an empty stomach. The best shortcake is the biggest shortcake, and it’s likely to take the place of a full meal. The owners and chefs at the Cheesecake Factory would have to agree with that sentiment.

“We bake all of our biscuits,” said Chad W., a manager at the Jordan Creek Cheesecake Factory. “Then we use strawberries that are lacerated in sugar, and we use whipped cream and ice cream.

“Our strawberries soak in sugar for at least two hours before we use them. And we use a special recipe for our biscuits — it’s kind of a sugar biscuit,” he continued.

The shortcake is served on a large round platter with two sugary biscuits on the bottom, topped with a couple scoops of ice cream and almost an entire carton of sliced, sweet and flavorful strawberries covering the entire dish. Oh, and don’t forget the whipped cream. There’s almost as much whipped cream as there is ice cream, because Iowans don’t hold back when it comes to dairy.

This dessert is definitely big enough to share, but you might just find you’d rather keep it all to yourself. RELISH

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Categories: The Dessert

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