Summer doesn't really start in Maine until the Fourth of July. June is still too cool for swimming, and beach traffic is slow. Next weekend marks the start of our short season: eight weeks of heat, humidity, and hiding from the tourists.
Fortunately, the arrival of my least favorite weather coincides with Maine strawberry season. Smaller and sweeter than berries shipped from California, Maine berries taste almost like honey.
These easy shortcakes are perfect for a Fourth of July barbecue. They're the traditional biscuit variety, with a touch of nutmeg flair. All three components can be made ahead of time. For a really decadent summer treat, try vanilla ice cream instead of whipped cream.
Red, White, and Blue Shortcakes
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Desserts (The Best of the Kitchen Library)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
6 tablespoons vanilla soy milk
3 cups fresh berries (mixture of strawberries and blueberries)
2-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
coconut cream (solids from a chilled can of coconut milk)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease a cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add margarine and beat at medium speed until small crumbs form. Stir in soy milk and form dough into a ball. Dough will be sticky.
Divide dough into fourths, and pat into 1-inch thick rounds. Place a few inches apart on baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes, until bottoms of cakes are lightly golden. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.
While cakes cool, rinse and slice berries. Toss with powdered sugar and lemon zest and set aside.With electric mixer on high speed, whip coconut cream and remaining powdered sugar until fluffy.
To assemble, slice cakes in half horizontally. Spoon berry mixture and whipped cream over bottom half and replace top of cake.