Smile Politely

Strawberry Shortcake

I believe that whenever there’s a sale on great looking organic strawberries you should snatch up as many as you can right then and there. Eat your fill of them directly from the container, put up some in the freezer to have in a smoothie, and, of course, treat yourself to some classic strawberry shortcake.

This recipe comes from an amazing vegan cookbook called Ripe from Around Here, by Jae Steele. In all her recipes, Steele encourages you to use organic produce local to your area, thus reducing the carbon footprint of purchasing produce that traveled thousands of miles to get to you. Her recipes are earthy, simple, and diverse. A great staple for any vegan.

What I love about this dessert is how wholesome and beautiful it is. It uses oat flour, which is a fun and healthful alternative to all-purpose white. The Cashew Creem, in place of whipped topping, is so simple to put together; you could use it on anything needing that extra oomph. Finally, I love, love, love that there’s no sugar! All it calls for is either agave nectar or maple syrup, and I’m a sucker for anything that utilizes maple syrup.

The summer is nearing an end, so run out there and get the last strawberries of the year. Hey, even thawed frozen berries would be fantastic. I suggest serving this sexy dessert to someone you really care about; it’ll say the words for you.

Creem Biscuits:

2 cups oat flour (or 1 cup each of oat and spelt flours for less crumbliness)

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

½ cup non-hydrogenated coconut oil (or non-dairy, non-GM margarine), chilled

1 cup coconut milk (or another rich non-dairy milk), plus 2 tbsp more for the biscuit tops

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking tray with unbleached parchment paper or a light coating of oil.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the oil or margarine until it is in pea-sized pieces. Add the coconut milk and stir with a fork just until combined. Drizzle in the cider vinegar and knead just 2–3 times to distribute.
  3. Take quarter cupfuls of the dough and slam them onto the baking sheet. Quickly paint the tops with a touch of coconut milk. Slide baking sheet into the oven immediately (middle rack) and bake for about 14 minutes, until the bottoms are golden.
  4. Allow to cool on a rack for 30 minutes.

Sweet Cashew Creem:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for at least 4 hours or overnight

¾  cup–1 cup filtered water

2 tbsp liquid sweetener (agave nectar or maple syrup)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Drain the soaked cashews and rinse them. Combine all the ingredients (starting with the smaller amount of fresh filtered water) in a blender or food processor and puree for about 2 minutes, until smooth. Add extra water if necessary. Refrigerated until ready to serve.

Berry Goodness:

2 cups sliced strawberries (or other fresh berries, if you’d rather make blueberry or blackberry shortcake instead)

2–3 tbsp liquid sweetener

Assembly (just before serving):

Cut the biscuits in half lengthwise using a serrated knife. On the bottom half of each biscuit, spread about 3 tbsp of Sweet Cashew Creem and about ¼ cup Berry Goodness. If there is any remaining creem, spread a thin layer on the top half of the biscuit before placing it down on top of the berries and pressing down gently to secure. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings.

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