When my sister-in-law Mandy and her family moved into our house they often remarked on how much I cook. Maybe it was an observation made because they live in our upstairs space that has no kitchen. Or maybe it was an observation made because Mandy, although a dietitian, never cooks! To her credit, if I worked in a kitchen each day, I probably wouldn't want to spend a minute in the kitchen once I got home either.
Their observation made me a little self-conscious! It did seem that each time they popped in our house I was cooking! But it's because I have a love for cooking. I love to be in the kitchen (although mine desperately needs a renovation). I love to see my friends enjoy meals I've prepared (at least I now have an acceptable dining room). I love to sample and share new recipes. And I know exactly where that passion started. ... with this lady:
This is my Nana. The best grandmother imaginable, and today, she's getting some well-deserved, hard-earned publicity in The Times for her Strawberry Crusty Shortcake. For the record, in all my years I've never heard her refer to it by this name. Also, we've never eaten shortcake at this table in her formal dining room. But she is a woman who knows the power of a good impression and thinks her mural (background) is nicer looking than her kitchen.
When there's a strawberry shortcake in the house, the conversation usually goes something like this:
(Ty and Stephanie enter back door left)
Stephanie: Hey, Nana!
Nana and Big Mick (in unison): Heeeeyyyy, Honey ... hey, Ty!!
(Ty and Stephanie are greeted by big hugs, kisses on the cheek and sometimes pats on the booty. Ty is feeling awkward.)
Nana: I've got something special for you. You might want to go take a peek in the refrigerator.
(At this point, the cats out of the bag and I know there's a strawberry shortcake in the fridge. But it is her pride and joy and I must entertain her.)
Stephanie and Ty (upon opening the fridge): Ohhh .... wow.
Stephanie: It's very pretty. Look at all those strawberries!
We have literally had this conversation no less than 30 times. She loves this shortcake and I'm glad she got some recognition. It's like everyone has gotten the chance to sneak a peek into her refrigerator. I know she's tickled pink and swelling with pride. I love it for her!
And to tell you the kind of woman my Nana is, she made another small, personal-sized shortcake for the reporter to take with her. She's loving through and through! She taught me to love spending time in the kitchen. It started when I was young and we would bake peanut butter cookies together. I always loved being her helper. Even though I was probably making a mess, she let me do it all while she stood by, measured ingredients and cleaned up my aftermath.
I know she wants you all to have her recipe, so I'm passing it along with one suggestion. Assemble to shortcake close to the time you're going to serve it. Otherwise the "crusty" turns into "soggy."
Nana's Strawberry Crusty Shortcake
8-10 cups strawberries
2-3 rolls frozen pie crust
Soft butter or margarine
- Wash and drain strawberries. Slice berries (not too thin) and add sugar to taste. Slightly stir to make a little juice and place in refrigerator.
- Place unrolled thawed pie crust on wax paper, add a little flour and roll out until slightly thinned. Turn crust over and put on cookie sheet. On the top side, spread with soft butter and lightly sprinkle with sugar. Using a fork, pierce holes in crust. Repeat with remaining crusts.
- Bake in preheated oven at 450 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove and put on wax paper to cool.
- Once cool, break into pieces to fit bottom of 4- to 5-quart dish.
- Add strawberries to cover first layer of crust. Add another layer of crust on top of strawberries. Add layer of strawberries. Repeat until each layer is filled and finish with a layer of crust on top.
- Pour juice from berries over crust. Top with whipped topping or whipped cream. Place in refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours before serving.