The adventures of an American lover of all things French...
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Procrasti-baking and The Power of Love
Yes, it’s a thing. I saw it on Facebook and, frankly, I was relieved. The article, from the New York Times on-line, entitled Why Work When You Can Procrastibake? starts this way:
All procrastibakers do not bake alike.
Procrastibaking — the practice of baking something completely unnecessary, with the intention of avoiding “real” work — is a surprisingly common habit that has only recently acquired a name. Medical students, romance writers, freelance web designers: Almost anyone who works at home and has a cookie sheet in the cupboard can try it.
“I started procrastibaking in college as a way to feel productive while also avoiding my schoolwork,” said Wesley Straton, a graduate student in Brooklyn. “Baking feels like a low-stakes artistic outlet.”
Hooked me pretty quick. There is a name for what I do to put off doing other stuff. As I said before, relief.
I have projects to grade, quizzes to mark, letters to write to 8th graders, lessons to plan and placement tests to score. So, how did I spend my afternoon? Making strawberry shortcakes. And just why not? I have heard that some suffer from procrasti-cleaning. Thank God I don’t have that affliction.
I found the recipe on Two Peas and their Pod. They are really just sweet biscuits. Some of mine turned out lop-sided, but that’s okay. I am not a perfectionist. Just don’t have it in me.
Our final Supper Club “meeting” at Dear Friend’s house was a lot of fun. And crazy delicious. Beck’s Mom made her signature appetizers, Brie Bites. Phyllo dough “cups” with a piece of double creme Brie, some raspberry-jalapeño jam, and pecans baked in the oven, then a sprinkle of (French) sea salt added and baked a bit longer. (I ate two, showing great restraint, because I could have eaten every single one of them.)
Miss Molly brought Caprese salad- another of my all-time favorites. I took two of these as well. Symmetry?
Dear Friend and Hubby provided roasted potatoes,
salmon cooked in his outdoor smoker and very tender roast beef.
I had a very special helper when it came time for dessert. Dear Friend’s oldest granddaughter, who is the spitting image of her mom at this age, helped me make the whipped cream and was my taste-tester par excellence. She also served everyone their dessert. Not that I want my Darling Granddaughter to grow up too fast, but I cannot wait to give her her first apron and a stepping stool for my kitchen!
Et voilà! Our strawberry shortcakes.
Strawberry Shortcake and I go way back. Growing up, I always asked Mama Mildred to make this for my birthday. You can use Angel food cake, regular yellow or white cake or real shortbread. I opted for sweet biscuits. Strawberries are in season. Go for it!
I need to get this post done or I will start suffering from procrasti-blogging… The stack of work is staring me in the face right this moment.
for the strawberries:
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, stemmed and sliced or quartered
1/3 cup granulated sugar
for the shortcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/3 cups cold heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream, for brushing on shortcakes
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on shortcakes
for the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Hull and slice the strawberries and place them into a large bowl. (I saved a few whole ones to use as garnish.) Cover with granulated sugar and stir. Cover and refrigerate the strawberries while you make the shortcakes so they can get juicy.
Preheat oven to 425˚ F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Mix in the salt. Add the small pieces of cold butter and use a pastry blender, fork, or your clean hands to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Mix until you have pieces that are the size of peas.
In a small bowl, stir together the cold heavy cream and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the flour mixture and stir until just combined. You may need to add a bit more cream, if the mixture is too dry. Turn out onto a floured surface and lightly knead the dough together to incorporate all of the crumbly dough pieces. Do not over mix or your biscuits will not be as tender.
Press the dough into a circle, about 1-inch thick and cut into rounds, using a biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Place the pan in the refrigerator and chill the biscuits for 20 minutes before baking.
Using a pastry brush, brush the chilled biscuit tops with heavy cream. Sprinkle tops generously with turbinado sugar.
Bake the biscuits until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely.
While the biscuits are cooling, make the whipped cream. Using an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt together until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
To assemble the shortcakes, cut the biscuits in half horizontally. Spoon the strawberries over the bottom of the biscuit and add a dollop of whipped cream. Top with the other biscuit half. Add more strawberries and whipped cream on top, if desired. You can also break up the biscuits and top them with strawberries and whipped cream or leave them whole and add strawberries and whipped cream on top.
Make Ahead-if you want to make the shortcake biscuits ahead of time, you can.Place unbaked biscuits on a lined baking sheet and freeze. When frozen, transfer the biscuits to a freezer bag and freeze for up to one month. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake for 23-26 minutes. You can also freeze baked shortcakes in a freezer bag for up to one month. Defrost before serving. You can warm them up in the oven, if desired.
Bon appétit to all strawberry lovers out there. I am deeply sorry for you if you are allergic to these heavenly delights. Substitute juicy ripe peaches or blackberries. If you didn’t watch The Wedding (I didn’t), at least listen to or read Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon. Amen, Reverend. Let’s spread the message of LOVE. There is power in love.