Dani Goes South.


The Easiest and Only Strawberry Shortcake You'll Ever Need

SweetsDani ColombattoComment
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In today's episode of "things my mom tells me to do about food", we have strawberry shortcake. I am not in the practice of not taking my mom's advice, and she's been telling me how much I "NEED" to make strawberry shortcake with Bon Appetit's shortcake recipe for about a year. Not unlike me in my teen years, it took a minute for me to get around to taking her advice, but when I did, everything instantly fell into place, because these bad boys are *clap* that *clap* good *final clap*. It's also fitting that this recipe comes just in time for Mother's Day, because well, I'm partial, but my mom just so happens to be the absolute best. 

Let's talk shortcake. This could not be a farther cry from that produce section "angel food cake" gar-bazhe that seems to sneak its way into many a casual function. Listen, I'm not saying it's the worst; I'm simply saying we can totally do waaaay better, and it's not even that hard. These shortcakes are tender, have that perfectly crunchy, sugary texture on top, with an unexpected added delicious layer of texture from cornmeal. I posted on my Instagram stories yesterday that these call for 2 hard boiled egg yolks, which is literally the only fussy step of this whole shebang. I say, throw a few extra eggs in your pot, and call it meal prep. Multitasking: The thing no one's really that good at, but everyone claims to be pretty good at... Am I right, or am I right? 

In a food processor, combine your two flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and egg yolks, and pulse a few times to combine. Add your cold butter, and pulse until it's in pea-sized pieces. Slowly, drizzle in 2/3 cups of  your heavy cream as you pulse the machine. Just pulse until the dough barely combines. Turn your dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, and lightly knead until combined into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 25 minutes. 

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In a food processor, combine your two flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and egg yolks, and pulse a few times to combine. Add your cold butter, and pulse until it's in pea-sized pieces. Slowly, drizzle in 2/3 cups of  your heavy cream as you pulse the machine. Just pulse until the dough barely combines. Turn your dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, and lightly knead until combined into a disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 25 minutes. 

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a large bowl, add your halved/quartered strawberries, along with 1/3 a cup of sugar, and the juice of half a lemon. Toss to combine, then cover, and refrigerate. 

To a parchment-lined baking sheet, add your dough, in 1/3 cup scoops, rolling them into a ball with your hands, and slightly flattening the bottoms as you set them down. Alternatively, you can use a 2 oz ice cream scoop, but mine just happened to be dirty, which is just really a window into our ice cream consumption around here. Brush the tops of your shortcakes with the remaining 2 tbs cream, and give each one a healthy dusting of sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes. I believe mine were right at 26. 

Make your whipped cream. Add 1 cup heavy whipping cream with 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1/2 a teaspoon vanilla extract. Whip until peaks form, but it's still soft and not over-whipped. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

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These are truly the most tender, perfectly crumbly, buttery, sugary shortcakes. Seriously, simplicity times one HUNDO. Who the hell doesn't love a warm shortcake, with bright, juicy, summery berries and freshly whipped cream? Do you know them? Disown them immediately. Love your mom, do something nice, take your vitamins, make these shortcakes - all things you should do, forever and ever, amen. I think your mom would agree.

This recipe was sponsored by my mom, who literally has sponsored my life. Happy impending mother's day to all! 

Strawberry Shortcakes

(Shortcake recipe from Bon Appetit)

Serves 6

For the Shortcakes

2 hard-boiled egg yolks, cooled

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

3 tbs fine ground cornmeal, or semolina flour

1 tbs baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbs granulated sugar

6 tbs unsalted butter, chilled, cut into pieces

2/3 cup, plus 2 tbs heavy cream

Granulated or sanding sugar for sprinkling on top

For the Strawberries

1 1/2 quarts strawberries, halved, quartered if large

Juice of half a lemon

Zest of 1 lemon

1/3 cup granulated sugar

For the Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream, cold

3 tbs confectioner's sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Coconut Creme Brulee

SweetsDani ColombattoComment
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The time has finally come for dresses, warm-night-walks, laying next to lakes and oceans (with copious SPF), and coconut scented EVERYTHING. I can hardly contain my excitement- though, I won't lie to you: my first Texas summer kicked my ass. Within 2 days of moving here my legs were covered, and I mean COVERED in 60+ (I counted) mosquito bites. I remember crying to Ben "THIS IS NOT WHAT I MOVED HERE FOR!!!!" I'm laughing now, but at the time...I was NAT having it., to say the least. Luckily, this summer we are planning ahead with a few getaways on the docket we couldn't be more excited for- one being Maui. YAAAAS. I actually haven't been since my junior year of high school (Wow, that sentence makes me feel old!), and my wheels are already turning with outfit ideas, where to grab the best poke, and thoughts of pina coladas by the pool (again, with copious SPF). 

Since we've got a few months until said Hawaiian getaway, I'm bringing a healthy dose of island flavors home with these coconut creme brulees. You guys, I kid you not, this dessert tastes like a straight-up vacation. Vanilla-flecked coconut custard is our base for a crunchy, caramelized, sugar shell, and charred pineapple and strawberries. I almost named this pina colada creme brulee, but truth be told, it tastes equally like a lava flow so I was torn between the two. Please grab your nearest tropical button-down, and accompany me to coconut creme brulee town.

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Preheat your oven to 325F. Scrape the seeds from 2 vanilla beans, and reserve the pods. To a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, add your coconut milk, cream, vanilla bean seeds and pods, and coconut extract. Choosing the right coconut extract is key here, and this is kind of the one situation I'm going to advise you to go tacky, and stick with that imitation coconut, baby-doll! It truly brings all of those being on a beach, smelling sunscreen vibes, which is exactly what we are trying to achieve here. Don't go with the real stuff. It's too subtle. Again, literally the one time I'll probably ever say that sentence, hah!

Bring to a boil, and remove from the heat immediately once brought to a boil. Whisk together your eggs, along with 5 tbs of your sugar until well combined. Slowly whisk the heated cream mixture into your eggs and sugar, making sure to stir constantly. Try and add a little at a time as your whisking so you temper your eggs, and don't scramble them. Divide your mixture among 4-5 heat-safe ramekins placed in a baking dish. If you want, you could probably divide this mixture into 6-7 smaller vessels. You would just need to adjust your baking times accordingly. Pour enough warm water into the baking dish so that it goes halfway up your ramekins. 

Bake until the center of your creme brulee is just about set. Since the bake time is directly related to the height of your vessel, bake 10 minutes for every half inch of height. Example: For a 2 inch vessel, bake the creme brulees for 40 minutes. 

After baking, remove from the water bath, and allow to completely cool before transferring to the refrigerator. Allow to refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving, although, you can totally leave them in the fridge overnight, and torch them immediately before serving.

Speaking of torching, for that portion of the program, simply sprinkle each ramekin of cooled custard with a heaping tablespoon of granulated sugar, and light it up!  

To serve, I kept with the general vacation vibes of this creme brulee, and torched up some strawberries and pineapple, because, as per previous mention, I wanted this to taste like an island cocktail, sans booze. However, feel free to make some freshly whipped cream, switch up the fruit sitch, add a sprinkle of powdered sugar- something chocolate would even be amazing here. This isn't really a space for rules. 

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The custard is so perfectly cool, light and creamy, it seems like it's been whipped for hours, but in reality, it comes together in a flash, and is such a good compliment to the hot, crunchy, sugar. The light torching of the fruit releases their sugars, and gets them macerating quickly, and almost becomes a super light sauce as you're eating it. Not mad. 

Speaking of vacays, I'm off to a quick little getaway in San Clemente, CA, and couldn't be more excited! I get to hang with most of my fam, and we're even taking a little unprecedented trip to Disneyland with all the cousins and their littles- I'm SO. EXCITED. Especially, because this will be my niece's first Disney trip (!!!)- I can't wait to watch her cute little face on every ride!

Do you guys have any fun warm-weather plans on the docket? I would loooove to hear (not mad at a Maui recommendation, either)! 

Coconut Creme Brulee

Adapted from Damaris Phillips

Serves 4-6

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup heavy cream

2 Vanilla beans, seeds scraped, pods reserved

4 large eggs

1 tsp imitation coconut extract

8-9 tbs sugar

Fresh fruit such as pineapple and strawberries, to serve (optional)