|Uncle Andrew…there from the very
Last weekend, we celebrated Father’s Day with all the necessary cards, salutations on Facebook, telephone calls filled with praise for Dear Old Dad. I know how much it meant to me and how much I admire the Dad in my own family who is raising one spectacular grandson. And how spectacular is he? Well, at age almost 4, he came to visit Uncle Andrew and me for Father’s Day two years ago. As he proudly handed me an oversized
|There for Mason always.
Father’s Day card, he turned to his mother and said “There really ought to be an Uncle Andrew’s Day”. And well there should be. When I think of how much Uncle Andrew does for Mason, the grandson in question, and then when I multiply it out for a lifetime of giving to his nieces and nephews and god children, there likely should an Uncle Andrew month. Then, when I think of all the other uncles –the Terrys, the Shawns, the Jeffs, the Dons, the Michaels, the Jims, the Hueys, the Bills and the Peters—this ought to be a national holiday. Add to them all the single Moms –the Annas, the Cindys, the Zoilas–who are both mother and father to their children and Father’s Day just does not cover all the people it takes to raise a child. So here’s to all of you on Uncle Andrew’s Day! And what better way to celebrate than with a cake!
Recipe for Strawberry Shortcake with Basil from Martha Stewart Serves 8. Takes 30 minutes to prep and 8 hours and 40 minutes of cooling and cooking.
2 1/4 cups cold heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons, for brushing
20 large basil leaves, plus 1/3 cup small or torn basil leaves
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus more if needed
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups sliced strawberries (1 pound 4 ounces)
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Bring 1 1/2 cups cream to a gentle simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bruise large basil leaves by hitting repeatedly with the dull side of a knife, and stir into cream. Remove from heat, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let steep for 25 minutes.
Strain through a fine sieve, pressing solids to extract liquid. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 5 hours.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, the baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers. (The largest pieces should be the size of small peas.)
Whisk together 3/4 cup heavy cream, the eggs, and vanilla. Stir into flour using a fork until ingredients are moistened but not fully incorporated. (Do not overmix.)
Turn dough out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pat into a 9 1/2-inch circle. Brush dough with remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
Bake until light golden brown and just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, macerate strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar, plus more if needed, depending on sweetness of the berries, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour.
Toss berries with small basil leaves. Whisk basil cream with confectioners’ sugar in the chilled bowl of a mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Mound basil cream on shortcake. Spoon berries with juice over top.
Shortcake is best served within 4 hours of baking but can be stored, untopped, at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Basil cream can be refrigerated for up to 1 day; whip just before using. Berries can macerate for up to 3 hours.