Alternate title for this post: Red, White, and Blueberry Shortcake
A few weeks ago, we celebrated a life milestone for one of the people in my office. I signed up to bring a dessert. I was looking for something low-maintenance that I could easily transport to work and would capitalize on the delicious fresh berries that are currently in season.
Behold the deconstructed shortcake!
This dessert could not have been easier to prepare. The secret – one store bought ingredient for convenience, one fresh/high-quality ingredient, and fresh/seasonal produce. And a pretty platter for serving.
The store bought ingredient was the Sara Lee pound cake. It was on sale at Publix – buy one, get one free. I defrosted the pound cake for about 10 minutes and then cut it into cubes.
The fresh/high-quality ingredient was the whipped cream. Using the whisk attachment on my mixer, I whisked a medium-sized carton of heavy whipping cream until soft peaks formed (careful not to let it go too long or you’ve have butter). I added a few teaspoons of sugar and a splash of vanilla at the very end to give the whipped cream a little bit of sweetness. Cool Whip and the artificial stuff in the cans have nothing on freshly whipped cream.
The fresh/seasonal produce was a carton of strawberries (rinsed, dried, and cut in quarters) and a pint of blueberries (rinsed and dried). Easy peasy. Blackberries would work well, too.
Another option for this dessert would be to get small plastic cups and layer the ingredients to create individual parfaits – start with a layer of cake cubes, then berries, and then a few spoons of whipped cream. One more layer of each and top with a berry or two.
A berry delicious seasonal dessert that is easy to make, easy to transport, affordable, and a huge hit.
With the redevelopment of the Gaines Street corridor, All Saints District, and Railroad Square in Tallahassee underway, many funky little local shops and cottage industries have begun to take hold in that area of town. One of these industries is SRSLY, a local chocolate confectionery. SRSLY describes themselves as “bean-to-bar chocolate entrepreneurs” who begin with organic and fair trade cacao beans and end up with bar of chocolate that “preserve the beans’ distinctive flavors.”
Intrigued by this concept and wanting to support Tallahassee’s cottage industries, I decided to splurge and pick up a few bars of chocolate.
My first taste of SRSLY chocolate was their Strawberry Balsamic Truffles, a creation that immediately peaked my flavor imagination.
Slowly taking my first bite of a Strawberry Balsamic Truffle, the slight give to the chocolate coat gave way to an initial flavor of dark chocolate, followed by a velvety (and ever so slightly gritty) strawberry infused chocolate center, and a subtle balsamic finish. While it would be easy for the strawberry or the balsamic flavors to dominate the taste of this type of confection, the dark chocolate (70% cacao) remained the leading flavor in this very enjoyable chocolate morsel.
My second exposure to SRSLY chocolates was a Sea Salt and Almond chocolate bar.
The first thing I noticed tasting the Sea Salt and Almond chocolate bar was the delightfully smokey flavor profile, pervasive throughout the entire bite of chocolate.
In addition to the smokey flavor, the chocolate bar was made more interesting by its texture. The almonds and flakes of of sea salt both provide the chocolate bar with a nice crunch. Unlike other bars I’ve had before, the almonds in the SRSLY chocolate did not get soft and chewy. The SRSLY chocolate bar also let the sea salt do what salt does best – enhance the other flavors in the bar – without the salt becoming a flavor itself.
SRSLY chocolate is currently available at several local venues in Tallahassee, including New Leaf Market where I bought mine. The SRSLY website also appears to be in the process of setting in an online store where people can order their chocolates. However you procure your tastings of SRSLY chocolate, you should indulge soon. SRSLY.