strawberry shortcake cover

Strawberry shortcake. Simple. Elegant. Fresh. It means the days last a bit longer, feel a bit warmer and summertime in New England is underway. I wish I could capture this summer feeling and bottle it for those bleak days that lie ahead. I suppose that’s why we can and freeze as much as we can. It’s a great way to capture summer in a jar.

So, the strawberry picking has begun – kids sitting in the fieldgobbling up the goodness while grown-ups scramble to fill their baskets with the biggest and most succulent berries. There’s an elegance about strawberry picking. It hearkens us back to a slower and more refined time.

strawberry collage
strawberry patch

Speaking of refinement, we started watching Jackie: Behind the Myth this week. We’ve watched half of the film and so far it’s been heart-wrenching. PBS did an amazing job putting this piece together and I definitely recommend it if your local library has it on the shelf.

To me, there’s something about Jackie that I find compelling. She conducted herself with dignity and grace. Her sense of style was second to none. And she was extremely intelligent. I did not know that she was multi-lingual, wrote poetry, and performed a complete historical restoration of the White House when she found it in shambles upon their arrival. As a patron of the arts she set in motion a plan to establish a Department of Culture for the United States. I suspect she would have been successful has tragedy not intervened. What’s your take on the importance of art and culture in society?

white peony

Interestingly, while Jackie was in the White House she set up a dinner with the worlds Nobel Prize winners. It got me to wondering about who I would invite to dinner if given the opportunity.

Here’s my question you: If you could invite any 10 famous people to dinner and dessert who would it be? For fun, let’s say 5 must be alive and 5 can be historic figures. (No family or co-workers, they’re a given). I’m seriously curious to hear who you’d invite.

strawberry shortcake bite (1)

While you ponder the question, here’s the recipe for this wonderful dessert:

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

625 g. bread flour
36 g. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
115 g. cold unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups (780 ml) heavy cream
egg wash
30 g. granulated sugar
1 lb. strawberries, washed, hulled, chopped and mixed with 1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)

1. Sift together the first 3 dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles the size of peas. Pour the cream in all at once and mix with your hands until you get a soft dough. Do not overmix.

2. Roll out dough into a 1.5 inch (width rectangle). With the long side of the dough facing you, fold the left side of the dough into the middle. Fold the right side of the dough on top of the now folded left side. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Remove dough from the refrigerator and repeat step 2.

4. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 7X16 inches. Cut out dough with round biscuit cutter.

5. Place biscuits on cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.

6. Whip the cream with the powdered sugar.

7. Top biscuit with fresh strawberries. You may want to slice the biscuit in half and fill it with berries. Top with berries and whipped cream.

Enjoy the strawberry shortcake!

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41 Comments
  1. WOW!! we hear so little of her.. would love to hear your synopsis of the movie..

    10 guests.. hmm.. not sure if can think of that many, but I would love to dine with some of these people

    Living
    1. Hugh Laurie
    2. Rohinton Mistry
    3. Hubert Keller (hopefully he will be chef for the dinner too 😉
    4. Steffi Graf

    Legends
    1. P.G Wodehouse
    2. Enid Blyton
    3. Indira Gandhi
    4. Mozart

  2. that peony shot is incredible!

    let’s see, my invite list would have to include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Julia Child, Jack Kerouac, J.D. Salinger, Henry David Thoreau, Neil Young, Robyn Hitchcock, Clarissa Dickson Wright (from the Two Fat Ladies), Ray Davies, and Andrew Zimmerman.

  3. Magnificent photos, El! 🙂 Oh boy, who would I invite:

    Alive:
    Anne Lamott
    Don Miller
    JK Rowling
    Elizabeth Gilbert
    Helen Mirren

    Dead:
    Winston Churchill
    Head of the Resistance in Denmark during WW2
    JRR Tolkien
    John Buchan
    CS Lewis

  4. Love love love old fashioned desserts and I love the indulgence here! Missed making shortcake this strawberry season … yours are bursting with ‘deliciousness’!

  5. Who would I invite … lets see …

    *Maya Angelou, *Mother Theresa, *Oprah, *President Obama, *Meryl Streep, *John Kennedy Jr, *Abraham Lincoln, *Eleanor Roosevelt *Wolfgang Mozart *Monet although I’m on the fence about the last two . . .

  6. Hmm. I’m back and I’d have to say:

    1. Coco Chanel
    2. Cleopatra
    3. Jackie Onassis
    4. Eva Peron
    5. Eleanor Roosevelt

    1. Oprah
    2. Gloria Steinham
    3. Madeleine Albright
    4. Michelle Obama
    5. Maya Angelou

  7. When I opened my e-mail and saw a new post from you, immediately I got excited because I knew I was in for an artistic experience. You don’t write often, but when you do, your work is always ethereal and a real edifying experience. This post did not disappoint. The peony. The little hatted body. The beautiful full day. And, then, the strawberry shortcake. Cream thick and rich and the dense home biscuit with fresh lush berries …
    Though I didn’t taste them,I have been fed by you, again, El.
    🙂
    Valerie

  8. I miss being able to pick strawberries. There’s nothing quite like simple strawberries with whipped cream and a buttery biscuit. And I love the beautiful crisp white peony.

    I have watched the documentary Jackie: Behind the Myth, and it was fascinating. It was heart-wrenching to listen to the aftermath of Dallas.

    Here’s my list of people who I would want to have dinner with:

    Living
    Oprah
    Ricky Gervais
    Dalai Lama
    Robert Parker
    Aung San Suu Kyi

    Dead
    Jesus
    Albert Einstein
    Buddha
    Socrates
    Tocqueville

  9. Can I just say I love the comments you’re leaving? I realize the question I ask isn’t the easiest to answer. I’ve been thinking about it all weekend myself. Nonetheless, I’m thrilled to read your responses. Keep ’em coming. It’s fascinating!

  10. This looks incredible-as all your photos do. I love that Jackie had a dinner with Nobel Peace Winners-she was quite the lady-if I had to list 10 people to invite to dinner-she would always be one of them.

  11. It is too hard to make a list! I do remember that Kennedy said of that gathering of nobel winners:
    “I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House. I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
    That has always made me smile. That would have been a table to sit at (although genius is not always charming).
    Love your photo essay!

  12. Alive

    1.Rania Al Abdullah
    2.Bono
    3.Maria Owings Shriver
    4.Marcella Hazan
    5.Gérard Depardieu

    Dead

    1. Mother Theresa
    2. Antoni Gaudí
    3. Sigmund Freud
    4. Charlotte Brontë
    5. William Shakespeare

  13. I love Jackie. She was soooo amazing. Dinner? Have to think about it. The Obamas are definite but I need to sleep on it! Gorgeous photos!!

  14. How delightful!

    The strawberries look wonderful too.

    10 guests…hmm…let me think…maybe

    Living: Nigella Lawson, Madhur Jaffrey, Steve Jobs, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar

    Legends: Michael Jackson, Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse, Julia Child, (Mozart, Bach or Beethoven).

  15. This looks just heavenly…

    I can’t even begin to list who I would like to have for dinner, but to your question about arts and culture: here in the US I feel that they are underrated and underappreciated. And this is coming from the perspective of a scientist, where we enjoy the benefits of funding and government support for our work. Especially in the schools, it seems like all the creative disciplines are not supported, funded, encouraged or respected; I find this very sad… If only Jackie could have continued with her work maybe it would have been different?! Who really knows.. but something should change.

  16. Strawberry shortcake is always a favorite. Hmmn…who would I invite for dessert…let me see…

    1. Pierre Herme
    2. Alexander skarsgard – although he doesn’t like sweets except vanilla ice cream.
    3. The Martha
    4. Charlaine Harris
    5. Steve Jobs

    1. Julia Child
    2. Jackie Onassis
    3. Princess Diana
    4. Princess Grace
    5. JFK jr.

  17. Beautiful shortcake. Who would i invite? Marie Antoinette, JFK, Jackie O, Beethoven, Gustav Klimpt, Steve Jobs, Harry Connick Jr., Oprah, Julia Child and oh I can’t decide.

  18. El, I’m totally mesmerized by the photos and the dessert looks so delicious. Nothing better than simple strawberry shortcake with loads of whipped cream.

  19. I am always reminded that there is an American and a Canadian/British way to make shortcake. Ours is made with a cake and yours with a biscuit:D I wouldn’t turn either down if set in front of me.

  20. Beautiful shortcake, the perfect summer dessert. I’m not sure who I would invite to dinner, there are so many people that have shaped my life. The only for sure would be Julia Child.
    Mimi

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