Here are just two of the perfect excuses I found online for having a piece of strawberry shortcake:
It's less calories than two pieces of strawberry shortcake.
It's cheaper than going to France.
Believe you me, I love strawberry shortcake. Fresh sweet berries crushed with a little sugar, barely warm biscuits and gobs of freshly whipped cream. It's the epitome of summer goodness in a bowl. There's just one problem... I'm allergic to strawberries.
My asthma is very food related, and I have reactions to a number of foods. Reading my allergy list is like reading the begats in the Bible. Luckily it's well controlled, so I can eat most everything in moderation. When fresh berries are in season I tend to overdo, though, so this year I thought I'd arm myself with a few variations on the classic shortcake to help me cope with the berry bounty.
You've probably seen PJ's peach cobbler, always an excellent choice. Blueberry hand pies remind me of my childhood; and any flavor of ice cream will make me a happy gal. To quote Ron Popeil, BUT WAIT – there's more!
Imagine taking creamy no-bake cheesecake filling, layering with biscuits, and topping it all with more filling and berries (or in this case, cherries). It would be cheesecake like Mom made, but without heating the oven for hours.
Need another excuse? It neutralizes the brownies you had yesterday. It's somebody's birthday. You don't want them to celebrate alone.
Let's get started making Cheesecake Shortcakes.
You'll need a batch of your favorite biscuits for shortcakes. My mom always used to bake them either early in the morning or late in the evening, to keep the house cool.
Next: the cheesecake filling.
One of the best tips I ever learned for making cheesecake is to work with room-temperature cream cheese. Cold cream cheese will retain lumps, and you'll never get a smooth filling. I've also taken to smooshing the cream cheese on the sides of the bowl with my spatula to really make sure it's lump-free.
Place 12 ounces (1 1/2 eight-ounce packages) of very soft cream cheese into the bowl of your mixer and spread with a spatula until all the lumps are gone.
Add 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant ClearJel, and a pinch of salt. Start mixing on a slow speed, scraping the bowl often. At first nothing will want to incorporate, but after a few minutes it will become smoother.
Increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute, until your filling thickens. It won't be as thick as traditional cheesecake filling, but will be thicker than plain whipped cream. Taste and adjust the sugar/vanilla/salt to your liking.
Place in the fridge to chill until ready to serve, at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
To serve, split your biscuits in half. Cover the bottom piece with about 1/4 cup of filling, add your fruit topping (I admit it, I like canned cherry pie filling with my cheesecake), then the top of the biscuit, a dab more cheesecake filling and a touch more fruit.
Of course, if you don't like cherry or canned filling you can certainly use your favorite fruits and fillings. The continents won't collide, the world will be fine. Personally, as I'm typing this, I'm picturing layers of lemon curd and cheesecake and you're lucky I'm still at my desk and not in the kitchen.
So, does this work with gluten free-biscuits?
You betcha! I used our Gluten Free Baking Mix recipe (NOT the same as our Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour) and fellow blogger and GF gal Amy enjoyed hers immensely as we chatted one rainy day. I even kept a few GF biscuits in the freezer to use for spur of the moment desserts.
I'm sure by now you don't need any more excuses for trying these sumptuous shortcakes, but in case you do, here are a few more gems.
It's the second anniversary of the night you ate plain broccoli.
And the granddaddy of them all... Life is short.
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