Strawberry-Beet Shortcakes

Hubs is back on the P90x again. While I am NOT trying to purposefully sabotage him by making high-carb sweet treats, it could be argued (especially by Hubs) that I have a tendency to cook more unfriendly items when he is on his diet. Confession… I cannot deny that diets, even the ones I am not on, make me crave whatever if forbidden. But keep in mind, I did make Hubs a green salad with the other beets. So I’m not a total meanie.

 I had such luck with the “Princess Pancakes” and then the “Cranberry Beet Bread” that it was inevitable that my desire to sneak beets into unsuspecting places would return. This is possibly my best beet-sneak yet.

Spring in SoCal is when the best strawberries are at the stands. While I don’t get strawberries in my CSA basket, San Diego has all sorts of wonderful strawberry fields if you know where to look. I think the best ones come from Carlsbad and I suspect most San Diegans would agree. I do continue to get beets of all varieties weekly in my basket and I love using the red ones in baked goods.

 So this week I roasted half my beets and put them in a salad (See- “Winter Salad with Roasted Ruby Red Chard Stems” for recipe). The other half I cooked in water in the microwave, pureed in the processor and decided to make dessert. The beet-infused shortcakes are fabulous alone. You don’t even need to add the strawberries. They are part flaky biscuit, part slightly sweetened scone. Because they have a vegetable inside, I try to pretend they are healthy even with the half cup butter.

At first, I was going to leave the beet infusion at the shortcake. But, then I decided to take it a step further and add the beet puree into the sliced strawberries and sugar and see if they would compliment each other. Thankfully, they did. The beets lended a deep wine-red hue. Even the little dots of pureed beet went unnoticed by the children until Hubs accidentally flubbed and mentioned there were beets inside. Me thinks that was reverse sabotage on Hubs’ end. The eldest promptly dropped her fork and excused herself from the table. The baby continued to shove the whip cream in his ears.

So if you decide to try this great recipe next time you make shortcake, do keep the secret from the kids and maybe even your spouse…

 Strawberry-Beet Shortcakes

2 C. All-Purpose Flour

1/4 C. Sugar

1 1/2 T. Baking Powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 C. 1% milk

2-3 Beets, quartered

1/2 C. cold butter

For the Filling-

3 pints strawberries, thinly sliced.

1/4 C. beet puree

2 Tbl. sugar

Whipped Cream

In a microwave safe dish with a lid, place quartered beets and cover with water. Microwave on high for 5 minutes or until a knife pierces easily. Drain water and allow beets to cool.

In a mini-prep food processor, pulse beets several times. I find that the consistency of pureed beets is not really a puree more of a very finely diced beet.

Take 2 Tbl. pureed beet and 1 tsp. vanilla  place in 3/4 C. milk and allow to stand long enough so the milk takes on a bright pink hue.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix well.

Cut 1/2 C. butter into small pieces and work into flour mixture until butter is almost pea-sized. Making a well in the bottom of the mixing bowl begin to slowly add in the beets and milk, stirring to combine with a spatula.

Once combined, turn out on a lightly floured surface and pat down until about 1 inch thick. Cut 8 round shortcakes from dough with a biscuit cutter.

Place on an ungreaed baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Macerate the strawberries with sugar and beet puree for at least one hour to allow beet flavor to mellow and strawberries to take on a dark red hue.

Slice shortcakes fill with strawberries, top with whipped cream or non-diary whip if preferred.

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