Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Retro Rennovation

The NY Times recently did a feature ("Restoring the Retro House") on Pam Kueber and her excellent "Retro Renovation" blog, which features a "daily dose of midcentury remodeling resources, home design inspiration, thrifty finds and a generous community of people passionate about their vintage and postwar homes—'modern' and 'modest' alike." We've added her site to our Blog Roll—check it out.

Strawberry Shortcake in the Guardian Service Duplex Utility Pan

Most often this hinged pan is used to prepare omelets (and it will, indeed reward you with lofty, golden omelets once you understand its eccentricities). But the marketing team of the Century Metalcraft Corporation dubbed it The Guardian Service Duplex Utility Pan for a reason. True to its "Kitchen of Tomorrow" name, the pan works as mini-Dutch oven to cook up a meal for two quickly and fuel-efficiently. We like putting the pan through its paces (and have adapted it for various uses) but these quick biscuits prove one of the best: the entire dessert takes less than 30 minutes to prepare, from assembling ingredients to presentation.

I've adapted the Shortcake recipe from the Guardian Service Tested Recipes cookbook to yield enough dough for two large biscuits. While I replaced the shortening in the recipe with butter and reduced the sugar slightly, the biscuits turned out light and fluffy (make sure not to over-handle the dough—rolling and shaping with your hands is sufficient).

Freshly whipped heavy cream is traditional (perhaps with a drop of brandy and scant sugar) but here I've substituted a yogurt sauce (scented with agave nectar, nutmeg and vanilla and added a drizzle of pomegranate molasses to the berries in place of a sugar glaze.

Guardian Service Strawberry Shortcake
The classic summertime dessert adapted for the Guardian Service Duplex Utility Pan

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp sugar
pinch salt
2 Tbsp cold butter, diced (plus more for pan)
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 dozen fresh organic strawberries, sliced
2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (optional)

Low-Fat Yogurt Sauce
1 cup low-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch fresh–ground nutmeg

  1. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt)
  2. Cut cold butter into flour. Beat egg, add to milk and mix into flour with pastry blender.
  3. Turn out onto floured board, roll and shape into biscuits by hand, using a light, deft touch.
  4. Heat Duplex Utility pan, add butter and drop biscuits into pan.
  5. Close lid, cook for 8-10 minutes until bottoms are browned. 
  6. Open pan, heat opposite side, add pat of butter and coat pan. Close lid, flip pan and brown biscuits on other side.
  7. Remove biscuits from pan, halve and fill with strawberries, top with yogurt sauce.

The complete Guardian Service dessert: Strawberry Shortcake and Coffee