Friday, June 14, 2013

LARD. And Some Strawberry Shortcake

Ohhhhh, lordy. It. Has. Arrived. What is it, might you ask? A coveted new cookbook, a new car, my own personal set of wax wings??? No, dear readers. Something far more exciting:

My lard.

A relevant (you'll see) digression: driven to distraction by the horrific photos and stories  that I've absorbed over the years of animals living in squalor and inexcusably mistreated, I've all but given up industrial meat and dairy products. I won't get into the details, because that's not what this blog is about, but trust me, I'm not being hoity-toity here. That said, I've not given up meat and dairy altogether. Every couple of months my mom places a large meat order to a company called U.S. Wellness Meats, a Missouri-based farm. It's awesome. You should support them with your monies. The animals live as they should, with respect to their species. They sell, among other things, pork products. And pork products include lard.

Have you ever had biscuits, a pie crust, anything made with REAL lard? I bet you haven't. I hadn't, either, until about a year ago when my friend Christine made the best pie crust I have ever had so help me god and she made it with lard. I became a convert and will not go back.

So with this last meat order, I had mumsy order me some lard. Which got me thinking, I sure would love some strawberry shortcake. Made with biscuits (lard!), naturally, because we are in the South.

Lard Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake. With Lard.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold lard
3/4 cup milk

2 pints fresh strawberries
granulated sugar, for sprinkling

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Add lard, and blend with a fork or pastry blender until it has the consistency of cornmeal.

Add milk. Aim very. Carefully.

Stir until dough begins to form, then knead against inside of bowl to pick up loose crumbs. 

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface, 3 or 4 times. Don't overwork it, or your bis-kits will suck.

Trust me, I'm a pro at sucky biscuits.

Roll dough out to about 1/4"-1/2" thickness, and either cut round biscuits or (like me) use a sharp knife to create square-ish ones. 

I tried this method (as opposed to the round ones I made in Biscuits, Fools!) because I read somewhere that the dough doesn't like the reworking necessary to make round biscuits. 

The result? Not much difference. And round ones are prettier.

Bake on cookie sheet/jelly roll pan for approximately 12 minutes, until biscuits are risen and tops are golden brown. (See image below)

While biscuits are cooking, slice and sugar your strawberries.

I don't have an exact measure here; I just slice a layer of strawberries, sprinkle with sugar, layer of strawberries, sprinkle sugar, etc until all the berries are gone.  I recommend you taste your berries before you go a-sugarin', since sweeter ones will obviously need less sugar.

These should sit for 15 minutes or so, until the berries have released some juice and the sugar is dissolved.

While your berries sit and your biscuits finish up, put heavy cream and powdered sugar together in a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form.

I prefer to hand-whip cream, since it's not really that hard and you don't have to haul out the hand mixer, but that's just me.


Pull biscuits apart while still warm, spoon sugared berries onto bottom half, and replace top half. 
Top with whipped cream and more berries. And you are in business! Happy eating!


Kat said...

Just found your blog thanks to this post and Pinterest! I've never cooked/baked with lard but I'm so wanting to try now. My nutritionist friend uses it all the time. Funny how you get an impression of a certain food from things you've read or heard and find out later that it's actually not as disgusting/bad for you as you were told. Looking forward to checking out more of your blog. Happy baking!

Oh, the Humidity! said...

Lard is SO wonderful. Seriously, when it comes to pies, biscuits, and the like, nothing beats it. I'm so glad it's starting to catch back on! And I agree with you-it's been interesting to see what we as a culture have begun to come back to, food-wise. Thanks for checking out my blog, and commenting!

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