Pickled Strawberry Shortcake

 looking for a dessert that was not something deep-fried. So it opted for pickled strawberry shortcake. A slice of dense sweet pound cake is served with pickled strawberries topped with a big dollop of whipped cream. The strawberries are diced and then soaked in pickle juice for about 30 minutes, so they are tart but not overtly so.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ripe but firm strawberries, hulled, halved if large
  • 1½ cups white balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

RECIPE PREPARATION

  • Place strawberries in a 1-qt. heatproof jar. Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and ⅔ cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour over strawberries. Let cool; cover and chill.

  • Do Ahead: Strawberries can be pickled 5 days ahead. Keep chilled.

DIRECTIONS FOR JAM

1. In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar and salt to coat, then let sit at room temperature for 12 hours.

2. Strain out the fruit and transfer the liquid to a medium saucepan with the remaining ingredients over high heat. Cook until the liquid reads 220º on a candy thermometer, 5 to 6 minutes, then pour over the fruit and let sit for another 12 hours.

3. Repeat this process of straining the fruit, boiling the liquid and pouring the hot liquid over the fruit 3 more times, each time raising the temperature by 2º.

4. Divide the cooled fruit and liquid between the 2 mason jars, pressing the strawberries down until there is only about ½ inch of space left at the top of each jar. Wipe the rim then affix the lid on each jar.

5. Bring a stockpot filled with water to a boil. Make sure there is enough water for the jars to be completely submerged. Arrange the jars on a wire rack and lower into the water. Process the jars in boiling water for about 15 minutes.

6. Carefully remove the jars and let them cool to room temperature on a folded towel, making sure not to disturb the lids or tops of the jars. Check the seals after 24 hours; they should not flex up and down when pressed in the center. The pickled strawberries will keep for up to 1 year.

For the short cakes

 

8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 stick (8 tablespoons) softened butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
a pinch of salt
1 egg
In a bowl combine the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla until a crumbly paste begins to form (similar to making pie crust). Stir in the flour and salt until a dough ball forms. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to overnight. On a lightly flour surface roll out the dough until 1/2 inch thick. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out shortcakes and lay on a prepared baking sheet. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush over each shortcake. Bake at 350°F for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown. Store in an airtight container for up to two days at room temperature.
When you are ready to serve up dessert in a small bowl or large glass layer in a shortcake, remove the strawberries from the pickling juice with a slotted spoon and top with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

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