Use Your Discard to Make Sourdough Strawberry Shortcakes
Well, why not! If you've got discard, you've got the makings of great strawberry shortcakes! The little shortcakes will have a sourdough tang in them that goes nicely with the sweet-tart taste of fresh strawberries! What if you don't have fresh strawberries? Substitute another fruit that you have and like--blueberries, peaches, blackberries, etc.. You will have to adjust the amount of sugar you use to accommodate the sweetness of the fruit and how juicy it is. Classic strawberry shortcake is served topped with whipped cream. That said, I grew up eating strawberry shortcake accompanied by vanilla ice cream, because that's what my Dad, who grew up on a dairy farm, liked. Now, I'm good with either ice cream or whipped cream or both. Yes, both. Ice cream in the middle or alongside and whipped cream on top! But only on very, very special occasions for both. How do the shortcakes taste? They are more like sweet biscuits or scones than small sponge or pound cakes. The shortcakes are only mildly sweet. The real sweetness comes from the berries, which supply the juices to soak into the shortcakes and soften and infuse them with strawberry taste. I make eight small, thin shortcakes--often in the air fryer. I sometimes don't bother to split the shortcakes. Instead, I just top them with the berries and ice cream. If you'd prefer, you can use the recipe to make larger, "fatter" shortcakes that are easier to split and fill with berries. Enjoy!
Sourdough Strawberry Shortcakes -- Makes 4-8
1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of starter/discard
1/4 cup of half and half
Sugar for sprinkling (regular or turbinado)
1 pound of strawberries, hulled, washed, and sliced
1/4 - 1/2 cup of sugar, depending on the sweetness of the berries
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of orange juice (optional but good)
Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream -- Your choice!
For the shortcakes, preheat the oven to 400 degrees (or read on for the air fryer instructions). In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until small, pea-sized pieces form. Stir in the discard, then the half and half. The dough will be quite damp. Place a piece of baking parchment on a baking sheet and drop four to eight dough mounds on the parchment, placing the mounds at least an inch apart. Sprinkle the tops of the mounds with the sugar. Bake the shortcakes for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. If you want to use your air fryer to "bake" the shortcakes, cut pieces of parchment to fit your air fryer basket and drop two mounds of dough on each parchment piece. Sprinkle the tops of the mounds with the sugar. Place one dough-topped piece of parchment in the air fryer basket, put the basket in the air fryer and air fry the shortcakes at 360 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until deep, golden brown. Repeat the process with the remaining shortcakes.
While the shortcakes are baking, in a medium bowl, combine the sliced berries, sugar, vanilla, and orange juice. Cover them and let them sit, either on the counter or in the refrigerator, if it's a warm day.
When you're ready to make the dessert, top the shortcakes with the strawberry mixture and ice cream or whipped cream. If you have large shortcakes, split the shortcakes horizontally into two halves, place one half in a bowl, top with berries, then the other half, and more berries. Top the strawberry-topped shortcakes with whipped cream or nestle some ice cream alongside. Yum!!! And yes, you can assemble the shortcakes with the strawberries ahead of time and top the desserts with whipped cream or add the ice cream just before serving! I think the desserts are better that way, as the juices from the berries have more time to soak into the shortbreads!