Friday, June 17, 2005
This is what I did yesterday, multiplied by 750. Yes, that's right... 750 bite-sized strawberry shortcakes along with 1,500 other mini desserts for a promotion. I have to admit this was a collaborative effort by three of us in the bakery over the last 2 days. And yes, my hands do still smell of strawberries... better than onions, I say.
For the mini strawberry shortcakes:
Our standard pound cake was baked in sheet pans and cut out with a 1-inch fluted cutter. Cake bites were brushed with a strong mixture of simple syrup and rum, then piped with restaurant-style whipped topping (which is basically the equivalent of Redi-whip) hence, the need for the rum. Strawberries were cut in halves or quarters then carefully sliced 1/8-inch from the base of the strawberry to the tip to create the fan effect then brushed with apricot glaze. Apricot glaze acts as a preservative for the strawberries as well as making the strawberries very glimmery. However, when kept refrigerated for more than a couple of days even glazed strawberries will begin to shrivel and look unappealing.
If you wished to make these at home, any dense yellow or pound (or even chocolate, for that matter) cake will work for this. Just bake in a jellyroll or half-sheet pan. Real whipped cream would, of course, be better than fake whipped topping.
For Apricot glaze: You may have to adjust the amount of water based on the consistency of the jam. Heat it until it is liquid enough to apply it with a pastry brush.
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon water
Mix the apricot jam with the water in a small microwaveable bowl and heat on high power or in a non-reactive 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until liquid. Brush it on with a pastry brush. The glaze can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
If I were to make these with chocolate cake, rather than fan and glaze the strawberries, I might try to find very small strawberries to dip in dark chocolate, then drizzle with white chocolate before placing them on the whipped cream. Actually, chocolate-dipped marachino cherries with stems would make a very nice presentation as well... simply replace the rum with kirsch.
In my best Julia Child, "Class dismissed."