There is almost nothing to making an excellent dessert with raspberry or strawberry shortcake, but this is mainly an excuse to mention Jiffy baking mix, which students and bachelors may not have noticed. There is nothing better than freshly-baked baked things anyway, and the U.S. is a land of durable baked goods and terrible bread. The only exception I recognize here are the baguettes from Safeway--they are not sealed in plastic and go hard in a day, just as they should. The hard ones make good bread crumbs, too. The absolute nadir are the various leaden, case-hardened Entenmann's products. The best solution is to bake your own.
Jiffy baking mix makes good "drop biscuits," which are really scones. Just add some milk, mix, drop on a baking sheet, and bake in a very hot oven. It takes less than a quarter of an hour in all. I make a half-recipe for myself, and usually cannot resist eating them all, in spite of the calories, dripping with butter (the scones, not me). The "shortcake" is not much more trouble. To a half-recipe, add a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of melted butter. Watch the time carefully--in a 450° oven minutes are golden. The only bad thing that can happen is that the bottoms may be overdone, though. You will see why this is called "short," that is, crumbly, cake. The cakes break up readily into soft chunks, perfect for eating with fruit. It's the butter--the shortening--that does the job.
Fresh raspberries can be used whole, but slice fresh strawberries, and mix with some sugar in a bowl. The amount of sugar is up to you. Stir a little, so you get a good mess, but not enough to destroy the fruit completely. If you use frozen (which works very well), all you have to do is thaw it--the sugar is already there, and the fruit has been pretty well mashed. Just spoon this over a shortcake, and pour on some thick cream (whipping cream is all you can get here, but it works). You can omit the cream for fewer calories. The shortcake soaks up the juice as it should, and it is all very nice. I think you will prefer it to the yellow sponge cake and non-dairy topping that most people call a strawberry shortcake.
Composed by J. B. Calvert
Created 27 October 2002