Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Today is Ben's birthday and we had a wonderful dinner last night to celebrate. Fresh cooked and chilled lobster-- one of Ben's favorite extravagances--with cold pea salad, fresh corn on the cob, and homemade strawberry shortcake. Umm, Ben does know how to pick out a good dinner. We ate at home, out on the deck, and Paul's flute teacher and our friend, Mrs. D., stayed to join us, so we had good company as well as good food.

Today is too busy to celebrate a birthday properly, but Ben did have time to open several cards from his family this morning before we had our goodbye hugs and headed out to school and work.

Since it's berry season, I thought I'd share the recipe I rely on for berry shortcake. It not only tastes good, it's easy to make. You just use an 8-inch square pan and ingredients you are likely to have around. It can be mixed up in a few minutes and popped into the oven to cook while you are having dinner, coming out all nice and golden just in time to cool down for a few minutes while you whip the cream.

It comes from a cookbook called Prairie Kitchen Sampler, written by E. Mae Fritz, who wrote it based on her mother's memories of midwestern early twentieth-century farm life and food. It was published in 1988, but Amazon has a few copies for sale. I've actually tried several of the recipes and liked them quite well. This Hot Milk Shortcake is one of my favorites.

Hot Milk Shortcake

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/2 cup hot milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease an 8-inch square pan well. Sift dry ingredients together (I just stir them). In a large bowl, beat the eggs until thick (I just use a whisk, rather than hunting up the electric mixer.) Gradually add sugar; beat well until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens. Fold in dry ingredients. Add butter to hot milk and stir until it melts. Add vanilla to hot milk-butter mixture. Stir into batter and mix well. Pour batter into the pan. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the top is golden. Cool cake for 10-15 minutes.

To turn this into strawberry shortcake, I cut it into squares and then slice each square in half and layer it with whipped cream and berries. So easy and so much better tasting than the little pre-made shortcakes you find in the store near the berries this time of year.

Ben certainly enjoyed it and I hope you will too!

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