Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Strawberry Shortcake Genoise
Well, first of all, June 14 is Strawberry Shortcake Day. I learned this when I looked up "strawberry shortcake" on Wikipedia, I learned that really, you shouldn't call it a shortcake if it's a genoise--only if it's a sweetened biscuit. I also learned that strawberry shortcake is a favorite Christmas dessert in Japan. But I'm really bummed that I didn't know about Strawberry Shortcake Day, although if I'd known I might have felt obligated to tell you all that this genoise is not really a shortcake. So maybe it's just as well.
I think strawberries are one of the least successful fruits to freeze. The cranberries were wonderful, but the strawberries lost something in translation. It may have something to do with the water content of the various fruits. Or it may not. I really know nothing about food science.
I don't remember purchasing this pan. I think Woody may have given it to me when he moved to New Jersey. Thanks, Woody!
I'm never quite sure that I'm browning butter in the proper way, but I did strain out a lot of dark solids, so this may be correct.
It makes me feel very scientific to spoon out some of the fluffy cake batter and mix it in with the browned butter. I'm curious about what would happen if I just mixed the butter in with the batter without this first mini-step, but not curious enough to try it because, although I know nothing about food science, I assume that Rose does.
I'm including this picture to humor Jim because he gets very excited when he gets action shots.
The suspense that happens when you turn a pan upside down and then lift off the cake pan to see if the cake emerges intact rivals the best mystery novel. I had to remind myself that if worst came to worst, I could got up the pieces and make sort of a strawberry shortcake tiramisu, which might not be a total catastrophe. But it came out about as perfectly as I could hope for.
What was not perfect: although I have syruped many a cake, and have always cooked the syrup (I think), for some unaccountable reason, I neglected to read the directions or to remember what I usually do in cases like this, and I didn't cook the sugared strawberry juices into a syrup. I was bemoaning that fact, and Sarah and Jim were both trying to console me by telling me it looked pretty anyway, when I said, "It doesn't look pretty. That pear thing looks like a cyst." They both looked shocked. I said, "the color of this sauce looks like gum tissue, and all those lumpy fruits look like unhealthy growths." They got over their shock and got into the spirit: "Oh, yeah, the grapes totally look like gallstones" and "This one looks like the person who has this is in serious trouble."
If you notice, those sweet pudgy hands, you may have figured out they aren't mine, but instead belong to my grandson, who ran into the kitchen and said, "Lulu, I want to help!" So I knew right away that I was not going to get any beautiful shots of the finished project, but I can live with that.
This is where I ask JJ's opinion about whether there was enough strawberry jam in the whipped cream. He said it was yummy. That's good enough for me.
This is the most whipped cream JJ has ever seen in his life, and he really got into piling it on.
Once I turned it around, the side where he enthusiastically patted it down was barely visible.
The boy puts a lot of concentration into eating. It doesn't appear that he cares much that what he's eating is not, technically, strawberry shortcake.
I think that I still prefer the sweetened biscuit shortcake that I grew up on, but this genoise cake was very tasty. and the strawberry flavors were rich and varied. The fact that my syrup wasn't really a syrup seemed to matter no more than the fact that this cake isn't really a shortcake.