Thursday, May 10, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake With Whipped Coconut Cream

vegan strawberry shortcake

My favorite dessert is strawberry shortcake.  Actually, I'm pretty sure most desserts are my favorite.  Today, as I was in between things I spent some time looking at food porn on Pinterest.  It got the better of me, and I decided that I had to make something new.  I have had a bottle of strawberry extract in my baking cupboard for over a year (ok, more like two) and have never found a reason to use it.  I also had several cans of chilled coconut milk and a big bag of strawberries left over from Sunday's garden party.  So, with the perishable ingredients in desperate need of a reason to have lived, I decided to make strawberry shortcakes.

This was a very quick dessert to whip up, taking only about 30 minutes total.  This recipe makes 8 shortcakes.

Strawberry Shortcakes with Whipped Coconut Cream
recipe by Emily Haydel


For the shortcake:

2 cups   all purpose flour
4 Tbs    baking powder
3/4 tsp   salt
2 Tbs    sugar
2 Tbs    earth balance (or other non-dairy margarine)
2 Tbs    earth balance (melted)
2 Tbs    non-hydrogenated shortening (I use spectrum brand)
3/4 cup soy creamer
1 pint    strawberries tops removed and sliced

For the whipped coconut cream:**

2 cans      full fat coconut milk chilled in the fridge over-night
1/2 tsp     xanthan gum (you can find this in the baking aisle of most health stores)*
3/4 cup    powdered sugar
1 tsp        vanilla extract (Or extract of your choice.  For this recipe I used strawberry AND vanilla)

Directions for the whipped coconut cream:

1.  Remove cans from the fridge carefully- hold them level and don't turn upside down

2.  Open the cans.  The coconut milk will have separated.  The cream will be at the top.  Scoop this out into a mixing bowl.  Do not add the coconut water, you want this to be thick and creamy.

3.  Whisk the coconut cream in the bowl until it is smooth.  Add the xanthan gum, powdered sugar and whisk again until  the mixture becomes thick and fluffy

4.  Add the vanilla (or other extract) and whisk again.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

vegan whipped cream

Directions for the shortcakes:

1.  Heat oven to 450 degrees F

2.  Put the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to blend.

3.  Add earth balance and shortening and pulse until the flour looks a little grainy, like course cornmeal.

4.  Pour flour mixture into a bowl and stir in soy cream.

5.  Drop by heaping spoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush on melted earth balance.  Bake for 15 minutes.

6.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire cooling rack.

7.  Suddenly remember you need to get the dog to the vet's in 10 minutes.

8.  Rush around like a crazy person looking for your phone and keys.

9.  Find your keys and give up on the phone, take the dog to the vet

10.  Return from the vet with a healthier dog, wash your hands, and return to the kitchen to assemble your shortcakes.

11.  Slice the shortcakes horizontally.  Place a layer of sliced strawberries on the bottom layer.  Put a heaping spoonful of the whipped coconut cream on top of that.  Top with another layer of strawberries and replace the cap of the shortcake.  Serve at once and call it dinner, if you like.

*A word about xanthan gum:  Xanthan gum is often used in baking as a binding agent.  It is quite expensive, but a very little goes a very long way.  I use it pretty frequently in things that need to have a thick, custard-like texture.  I'm going to keep using it because it gives me an excuse to use the letter "x" in my blog.

**Whipped coconut cream is my vegan answer to whipped cream.  It has a slight coconut flavor to it that I think works well in fruity and chocolatey concoctions.

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