Sunday, May 21, 2017

Strawberry Ice Cream Shortcakes with Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

During strawberry season, I always think of shortcakes. And while I had some of the very freshest, best milk and cream on hand, strawberry shortcakes with vanilla ice cream quickly became a fantastic idea. I volunteer with Slow Food Austin, and we recently hosted a tour at Richardson Farms where they’re operating a newly-opened dairy. This is a small, family-run farm that sits about an hour’s drive outside of Austin. To give you a sense of the scale of this dairy, the milking operation is set up for four cows at a time. 

We visited the pretty bovine gals as they waited their turn outside, and then we watched as they came in and the milking began. Richardson’s guarantees that all their cows are of the A2 genetic variety, and as they breed the next generation, they are also guaranteed to be A2. That designation refers to a type of beta-casein protein, and cows in the US can be A1 or A2. Larger farms could have some cows of both types and don’t typically check which is which. The A2 beta-casein is thought to be more easily-digestible and to lead to fewer adverse health issues than A1. It was fascinating to learn that the farm has taken the steps to ensure that all their milk is A2. During the tour, we also visited the hungry, little calves and fed them from bottles before touring the milk tank room and seeing the pasteurizing machine. Here in Texas, raw milk can only be purchased at a farm. It can’t be sold at farmers’ markets or in stores. So, while Richardson’s offers raw milk to customers who visit the farm, everything they sell elsewhere is low-heat pasteurized. While there, I was able to purchase raw milk that had just entered the tank from the cows I saw being milked, and I also brought home some raw cream. I couldn’t wait to put it to good use. 

I should mention, the farm also produces meat including beef, pork, and chicken. They sell eggs, and they mill their own whole wheat flour and cornmeal from non-GMO plants. When I read A New Way to Bake, the Cornmeal Drop Biscuits caught my eye, and I knew they’d be great platforms for strawberry shortcake. I made them with whole wheat pastry flour, Richardson’s cornmeal and raw milk, and some grass-fed butter. The batter was scooped onto baking sheets, and they baked until golden. For the ice cream, as usual I followed the recipe for Vanilla Gelato from Elizabeth Falkner's Demolition Desserts . I used more of that fabulous milk that was heated gently and added to egg yolks. The custard was then poured through a sieve into a measuring pitcher, and the beautiful raw cream was added with some salt. I chilled the base overnight before churning the ice cream. For the strawberries, I just stemmed and halved them, tossed them with a little sugar, and waited for the juices to run. 

After visiting the farm, seeing what they’re doing, and hearing the trouble they’ve gone to to make the best product they can, I wanted to tell everyone I know to go buy their milk. I hope they’re able to sell raw milk as an option at our farmers’ markets soon. And, I hope more people take an interest in this incredible milk made right here in central Texas. I can report the milk and cream were sublime in all the ways I used them: in a spring chowder, splashed into some cold-brew coffee, and in these biscuits and ice cream for strawberry shortcakes. 

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  1. The biscuits made with cornmeal must be particularly crunchy and lucky you getting to try some raw milk!

  2. Lovely cornmeal biscuits. That is such a wonderful treat.



  3. What a fabulous spring dessert! I can't seem to get enough strawberries this season. The ice cream sounds enchanting!

  4. nice take on a classic, lisa! i haven't had my first strawberry shortcake this year and that needs to be remedied immediately!

  5. I almost never make drop biscuits using cornmeal! Love corn-anything, so really should. Thanks!

  6. I have never had raw interesting the cornmeal in the biscuit...great dessert Lisa!
    I hope you have a nice week ahead :)

  7. Gosh, it seems that family dairy farms like this exist less and less in Europe which is tragic. I bet you spent a wonderful day here. I haven't made shortcakes in years and our strawberries are abundant now! I bet the cornmeal adds wonderful texture and flavor!

  8. Haven't made a shortcake in more than 15 years! Isn't that pathetic?

    I remember the last time Phil's kids still lived with us.. wow. Way too long...


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