Strawberry Shortcakes

by Fran Costigan

*Lemon-Scented Silken Vanilla Cream adapted from the Vanilla Pastry Cream in Fran Costigan’s Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts.  Publisher: Running Press. Publication Date: October 22, 2013.

Ingredients

Lemon-Scented Silken Vanilla Cream

Simply made in a blender from a base of heart-healthy cashews, this luscious, silken vanilla cream freezes beautifully. Spoon a tablespoon over fresh fruit, pudding, or gels, or, as shown here, you can take a drop biscuit to heaven with a tablespoon or two. 

 

  • 5 ounces raw cashews, rinsed, soaked 4 hours to overnight
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) canned, full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk, mixed thoroughly (do not use light)
  • 4-6 Tablespoons organic cane sugar or coconut sugar (which makes the cream darker)
  • 1 Tablespoon (®ˆ ounce) mild-tasting extra-virgin olive oil or any neutral oil (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Seeds from a vanilla bean or 1 Tablespoon (®ˆ ounce) pure vanilla extract
  • Zest from 1 organic lemon, finely grated, or more to taste

 

Sweet Balsamic Reduction

Use this versatile balsamic reduction to drizzle on fruit desserts or on a salad. It lasts indefinitely, so make a double batch.

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 20 to 30 minutes Makes about 2/3 cup

 

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons (1®ˆ ounces) agave nectar (best made with light-colored agave)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lucuma powder, optional but recommended

 

Sweet-Tart Roasted Strawberries

Spoon these roasted berries and the pan sauce over drop biscuits, non-dairy yogurt, ice cream, or your breakfast oatmeal. This recipe is best served the day it is made.

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 6-8 minutes

Makes 1 1/2 cups

 

  • 1 quart strawberries, hulled. Slightly imperfect, ripe, partially firm strawberries are best.
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) maple syrup, Grade A dark or use silan (aka date honey or date syrup)
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) Sweet Balsamic Reduction

 

Drop Biscuits

To make these quick and easy Drop Biscuits, I added nut flour for nutrition, texture, and flavor and nixed the typical butter and cream. These tasty biscuits are perfect for Strawberry Shortcakes, but they are also simply delicious served warm with your favorite jam or other spread.

Prep Time 10 minutes Bake Time 15 minutes Makes (12) 2 1/2” biscuits

 

  • 1 1/3 cups canned, full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk, mixed thoroughly (do not use light)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 4 teaspoons organic orange zest, finely grated
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • • 1 1/4 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Cane or coconut sugar for sprinkling biscuits before baking (optional)

Directions

Lemon-Scented Silken Vanilla Cream

  1. Drain and rinse the cashews in a strainer. Blend cashews, coconut milk, 4 Tablespoons of sugar, oil (if using), and salt in high-speed blender, starting on low, then increasing speed to high. Blend 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth, thick, and warm. It will be quite thick, and easiest to remove while hot.
  2. Pour the cream into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla seeds or extracts. Add lemon zest.
  3. The cream is ready to use now or can be refrigerated up to overnight to allow the flavors to blend. The cream will thicken as it chills. Stir before using. 

VARIATION: Omit the lemon zest, and you’ll have made a lovely vanilla cream.

TIP: Add some water or nondairy milk to the blender before washing, run on high. Save this sweet cashew beverage to add to smoothies.

 

Sweet Balsamic Reduction

  1. Combine vinegar and agave in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, whisking a few times.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking a few times, until syrup is reduced to 1/2 cup. Check a couple of times. 

TIP: Properly made, the reduction will have thickened enough to drip very slowly off a spoon.

 

Sweet-Tart Roasted Strawberries

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Have ready a 9”x13” baking pan with shallow sides, or equivalent.
  3. Cut smaller berries in half, larger ones into quarters. Spoon into a medium bowl.
  4. Mix maple syrup and Sweet Balsamic Reduction in a small dish. Pour over berries and toss to coat.
  5. Spoon strawberries and liquid into the baking pan, arranging the berries in a single layer. Reserve this bowl.
  6. Roast 6–8 minutes, or until the berries are softened but not mushy.
  7. Set a strainer over the reserved bowl. Drain the berries and spoon them into a container.
  8. Pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan and reduce over high heat until syrupy. Pour into a small dish and refrigerate until needed.
  9. Spoon the berries into a serving dish. Expect more liquid to accumulate in the dish.

TIP: Save the strawberry hulls to make strawberry water.

 

Drop Biscuits

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Line a heavy baking sheet with a double layer of parchment paper.
  3. Pour coconut milk into a large measuring cup and add vanilla, almond extract (if using), and zest. Set aside.
  4. Put a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Measure the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, and salt into the strainer. Whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. Stir to mix.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in coconut milk mixture. Mix the dough by bringing the dry ingredients into the liquid, rotating the bowl as you go. Do not press or over-mix the dough. It comes together quickly into a craggy, soft dough.
  6. Scoop scant 1/4 cup of dough per biscuit onto baking sheet, spacing them 2” apart. For ease, use a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop.
  7. Sprinkle with your choice of sugar, if using.
  8. Bake 14 to 15 minutes, or until set and very lightly golden. Flip one over; the bottom should be brown.
  9. Cool on wire rack for a couple of minutes.
  10. If not for immediate use, freeze in airtight container. Defrost covered. Warm in low oven.

TIP: Omit the sprinkle of sugar, and you’ve got delicious, savory biscuits

 

Putting it All Together

  1. Just before serving:
  2. Using a serrated knife, slice the biscuits in half.
  3. Add a good dollop of lemon vanilla cream on the bottom biscuit.
  4. Add some of the Roasted Strawberries.
  5. Add some reduced roasted strawberry syrup.
  6. Add the top biscuit and enjoy!

Note

One of my favorite graded activities in the 90-Day Essential Vegan Desserts Course at Rouxbe Cooking School, this shortcake is a composite of my recipes for Lemon-Scented Silken Vanilla Cream, Sweet Balsamic Reduction, Sweet-Tart Roasted Strawberries, and Drop Biscuits. Together they make an exquisite shortcake, but each is also a fabulous stand-alone recipe, ready to be used in a variety of other desserts or snacks. Here’s our Game Plan:

• Make the Silken Vanilla Cream, refrigerate or freeze and defrost.

• Make the Sweet Balsamic Reduction; it lasts for months at room temperature.

• Make the Sweet-Tart Roasted Strawberries and its syrup on the day you’ll serve them

• Make and bake the Drop Biscuits; serve them warm or at room temperature.

• Assemble the Shortcakes just before serving.

 

About the Author

Fran Costigan, the “Queen of Vegan Desserts,” is director of Vegan Baking and Pastry at Rouxbe Cooking School. The recipes in her bestselling cookbooks, More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally and Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, from retro desserts to elegant vegan versions of classics, produce excellent results every time. https://francostigan.com https://rouxbe.com/vegan-desser

  • Ingredients:

    Lemon-Scented Silken Vanilla Cream

    Simply made in a blender from a base of heart-healthy cashews, this luscious, silken vanilla cream freezes beautifully. Spoon a tablespoon over fresh fruit, pudding, or gels, or, as shown here, you can take a drop biscuit to heaven with a tablespoon or two. 

     

    • 5 ounces raw cashews, rinsed, soaked 4 hours to overnight
    • 1 cup (8 ounces) canned, full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk, mixed thoroughly (do not use light)
    • 4-6 Tablespoons organic cane sugar or coconut sugar (which makes the cream darker)
    • 1 Tablespoon (®ˆ ounce) mild-tasting extra-virgin olive oil or any neutral oil (optional)
    • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • Seeds from a vanilla bean or 1 Tablespoon (®ˆ ounce) pure vanilla extract
    • Zest from 1 organic lemon, finely grated, or more to taste

     

    Sweet Balsamic Reduction

    Use this versatile balsamic reduction to drizzle on fruit desserts or on a salad. It lasts indefinitely, so make a double batch.

    Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 20 to 30 minutes Makes about 2/3 cup

     

    • 1 cup (8 ounces) balsamic vinegar
    • 3 Tablespoons (1®ˆ ounces) agave nectar (best made with light-colored agave)
    • 1/2 teaspoon lucuma powder, optional but recommended

     

    Sweet-Tart Roasted Strawberries

    Spoon these roasted berries and the pan sauce over drop biscuits, non-dairy yogurt, ice cream, or your breakfast oatmeal. This recipe is best served the day it is made.

    Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 6-8 minutes

    Makes 1 1/2 cups

     

    • 1 quart strawberries, hulled. Slightly imperfect, ripe, partially firm strawberries are best.
    • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) maple syrup, Grade A dark or use silan (aka date honey or date syrup)
    • 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) Sweet Balsamic Reduction

     

    Drop Biscuits

    To make these quick and easy Drop Biscuits, I added nut flour for nutrition, texture, and flavor and nixed the typical butter and cream. These tasty biscuits are perfect for Strawberry Shortcakes, but they are also simply delicious served warm with your favorite jam or other spread.

    Prep Time 10 minutes Bake Time 15 minutes Makes (12) 2 1/2” biscuits

     

    • 1 1/3 cups canned, full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk, mixed thoroughly (do not use light)
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
    • 4 teaspoons organic orange zest, finely grated
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 1 Tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
    • • 1 1/4 cups almond meal
    • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • Cane or coconut sugar for sprinkling biscuits before baking (optional)
  • Directions:

    Lemon-Scented Silken Vanilla Cream

    1. Drain and rinse the cashews in a strainer. Blend cashews, coconut milk, 4 Tablespoons of sugar, oil (if using), and salt in high-speed blender, starting on low, then increasing speed to high. Blend 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth, thick, and warm. It will be quite thick, and easiest to remove while hot.
    2. Pour the cream into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla seeds or extracts. Add lemon zest.
    3. The cream is ready to use now or can be refrigerated up to overnight to allow the flavors to blend. The cream will thicken as it chills. Stir before using. 

    VARIATION: Omit the lemon zest, and you’ll have made a lovely vanilla cream.

    TIP: Add some water or nondairy milk to the blender before washing, run on high. Save this sweet cashew beverage to add to smoothies.

     

    Sweet Balsamic Reduction

    1. Combine vinegar and agave in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, whisking a few times.
    2. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking a few times, until syrup is reduced to 1/2 cup. Check a couple of times. 

    TIP: Properly made, the reduction will have thickened enough to drip very slowly off a spoon.

     

    Sweet-Tart Roasted Strawberries

    1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
    2. Have ready a 9”x13” baking pan with shallow sides, or equivalent.
    3. Cut smaller berries in half, larger ones into quarters. Spoon into a medium bowl.
    4. Mix maple syrup and Sweet Balsamic Reduction in a small dish. Pour over berries and toss to coat.
    5. Spoon strawberries and liquid into the baking pan, arranging the berries in a single layer. Reserve this bowl.
    6. Roast 6–8 minutes, or until the berries are softened but not mushy.
    7. Set a strainer over the reserved bowl. Drain the berries and spoon them into a container.
    8. Pour the cooking liquid into a small saucepan and reduce over high heat until syrupy. Pour into a small dish and refrigerate until needed.
    9. Spoon the berries into a serving dish. Expect more liquid to accumulate in the dish.

    TIP: Save the strawberry hulls to make strawberry water.

     

    Drop Biscuits

    1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.
    2. Line a heavy baking sheet with a double layer of parchment paper.
    3. Pour coconut milk into a large measuring cup and add vanilla, almond extract (if using), and zest. Set aside.
    4. Put a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Measure the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, and salt into the strainer. Whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. Stir to mix.
    5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in coconut milk mixture. Mix the dough by bringing the dry ingredients into the liquid, rotating the bowl as you go. Do not press or over-mix the dough. It comes together quickly into a craggy, soft dough.
    6. Scoop scant 1/4 cup of dough per biscuit onto baking sheet, spacing them 2” apart. For ease, use a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop.
    7. Sprinkle with your choice of sugar, if using.
    8. Bake 14 to 15 minutes, or until set and very lightly golden. Flip one over; the bottom should be brown.
    9. Cool on wire rack for a couple of minutes.
    10. If not for immediate use, freeze in airtight container. Defrost covered. Warm in low oven.

    TIP: Omit the sprinkle of sugar, and you’ve got delicious, savory biscuits

     

    Putting it All Together

    1. Just before serving:
    2. Using a serrated knife, slice the biscuits in half.
    3. Add a good dollop of lemon vanilla cream on the bottom biscuit.
    4. Add some of the Roasted Strawberries.
    5. Add some reduced roasted strawberry syrup.
    6. Add the top biscuit and enjoy!
  • Note:

    One of my favorite graded activities in the 90-Day Essential Vegan Desserts Course at Rouxbe Cooking School, this shortcake is a composite of my recipes for Lemon-Scented Silken Vanilla Cream, Sweet Balsamic Reduction, Sweet-Tart Roasted Strawberries, and Drop Biscuits. Together they make an exquisite shortcake, but each is also a fabulous stand-alone recipe, ready to be used in a variety of other desserts or snacks. Here’s our Game Plan:

    • Make the Silken Vanilla Cream, refrigerate or freeze and defrost.

    • Make the Sweet Balsamic Reduction; it lasts for months at room temperature.

    • Make the Sweet-Tart Roasted Strawberries and its syrup on the day you’ll serve them

    • Make and bake the Drop Biscuits; serve them warm or at room temperature.

    • Assemble the Shortcakes just before serving.

     

    About the Author

    Fran Costigan, the “Queen of Vegan Desserts,” is director of Vegan Baking and Pastry at Rouxbe Cooking School. The recipes in her bestselling cookbooks, More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally and Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, from retro desserts to elegant vegan versions of classics, produce excellent results every time. https://francostigan.com https://rouxbe.com/vegan-desser

  • Credit:

    by Fran Costigan

    *Lemon-Scented Silken Vanilla Cream adapted from the Vanilla Pastry Cream in Fran Costigan’s Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts.  Publisher: Running Press. Publication Date: October 22, 2013.

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