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When it comes to food these days, it seems the word “deconstructed” is being thrown around everywhere. One would think it means a dish’s components are broken apart. On the contrary, it describes the elements of a food dish being rebuilt. Basically, you take all the ingredients and make a new dish, other than the original. So…that’s what I’ve done with my “Deconstructed” Strawberry Shortcake. Berries, whipped cream and pound cake, kicked up a notch and turned into a creamy, delicious dessert!
“I could never make something like that!” I hear ya..that’s what everyone says. The ironic thing is…you CAN! Just because a dessert looks daunting, doesn’t mean it is. As long as you have the correct ingredients and tools, creating beautiful foods is mainly a matter of following directions. Just take it step by step.
Basically, this recipe has four parts. When you put those parts together, you end up with something very tasty. The parts consist of: Pound cake, vanilla pastry cream, strawberry gel and whipped cream. As far as equipment, a stand mixer (or hand mixer) and a spring-form pan are both needed. Spring-form pan…what? It’s a type of pan where the sides and bottom are two separate pieces. It’s mainly used for baked items like cheesecake or foods that need side walls until it is set up, like this strawberry dessert. When the food is ready, you un-do the latch and peel off the sides. If you don’t have such a pan, you can find them at yard sales everywhere. Good to have around!
Once you have all of your parts made (from the recipes below) you can begin to “re-construct” your strawberry shortcake. Since I am a baker, I typically make everything from scratch. I know many of you either don’t have the time or think you don’t have the ability, so it is okay to take some shortcuts. For instance, I got through step one very easily by using a Sara Lee All-Butter Frozen Pound Cake. I cut it into 16 slices (8 for each layer) and was done in a matter of minutes. For easy removal, I placed a round piece of parchment in the bottom of the pan before laying in the first 8 slices of pound cake. Cut and fit them in the best you can to create a layer…gaps are okay because the pastry cream will fill them in, creating a unified “cake.” Next, you’ll spread in all of the pastry cream followed up by pushing in the next layer of pound cake. Top it all, from wall to wall, with the strawberry gel and place in the fridge for a few hours. When completely set, run a knife around the edges and remove the pan wall. Either buy a can of real whipped cream or simply make your own. Dig up some creativity and pipe on the whipped cream with whatever design makes you happy. Done. Complete. It’s THAT simple! Enjoy!
- ½ C. Cane Sugar
- 2 TB Unbleached Flour
- 1 TB + 1 t. Cornstarch
- ½ t. Sea Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 C. Milk
- 6 TB Butter, softened
- ¼ t. Vanilla
- ¼ t. Almond Extract
- ½ Vanilla bean, scraped
- In stand mixer, whisk sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, eggs & vanilla beans in the heatproof bowl.
- In medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.
- Add 5 or 6 TB of hot milk to egg mixture, one at a time while mixing. You need to bring the temperature of the eggs up so they don’t scramble. Slowly add the rest of hot milk while mixing.
- Put all of the mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. When the vanilla cream starts to boil in the center, remove from heat (it thickens quickly!)
- Stir in butter and extracts. Set aside.
- 2 C. Fresh or Frozen Strawberries
- 1 C. Water
- 1 C. Cane Sugar
- 3 TB Cornstarch
- ½ TB Butter
- Cook berries, ½ c. water and sugar until berries are broken down (kind of chop at them with the spoon.)
- Mix cornstarch and other ½ c water; add to berry mixture.
- Stir constantly and boil until clear(ish.)
- Remove from heat and stir in butter.
- Set aside to cool a bit before topping cake.
- 8 oz. Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 TB Cane Sugar
- 1 t. Vanilla
- ½ Vanilla Bean, scraped
- Chill bowl of stand mixer in freezer.
- With whisk attachment, beat cream, sugar vanilla and bean until thick fluffy.
- Don’t over-beat or you’ll end up with little bits of butter in your whipped cream…which isn’t TOTALLY a bad thing
- Also, you can adjust the sugar level to your taste. I like a not-so-sweet whipped cream.