When life gives you strawberries…Part 3: Shortcake with Berry Lavender Compote

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Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending the Rhetoric Society of America’s 2013 Summer Institute at the University of Kansas. Nerd camp, you say? Absolutely! I spent a week learning from some of the top scholars in argumentation theory, so don’t even think about picking a fight. I will win.

One of the many great things about the Institute was that I got to stay in a really cute cottage as the guest of a professor I’ve been working under. Usually conferences mean lots of eating out, which sends me into cooking withdrawal after a few days. But not this time. The cottage had a fantastic little kitchen, the grocery store had beautiful strawberries, I wanted dessert…the logical result (using informal logic, that is) was strawberry shortcake.

Adding a few sliced strawberries makes the shortcake an easy dessert, but if you have more time and want to gussy it up, try topping the cake with berry lavender compote. The compote was inspired by a blueberry lavender dark chocolate bar that I found in Kansas and the strawberry lavender filling in this cake from Sweetapolita. The shortcake comes together quickly, and the compote can be made while it’s in the oven. They can be served warm or chilled – both are lovely. Whipped cream is, as always, a fantastic addition. That’s something no one will argue about.

Shortcake with Berry Lavender Compote
Serves 8-10
Total time: 1 hour

1 1/3 cup bisquick
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs. butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a medium sized bowl, stir together bisquick and sugar. Add butter, egg, and sour cream, then beat on medium-high for 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk and vanilla, then beat another 30 seconds. Pour the batter into a greased 8″ x 8″ pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. The cake is best served warm, but keeps for a few days either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. (Leftover cake makes a fabulous breakfast, heated up and covered with warm milk.)

Berry Lavender Compote

16 oz.(1 lb) strawberries, hulled and chopped
6 oz. blueberries
1/8 cup + 1 Tbs. water
3/4 tsp. dried culinary lavender
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
a dash salt
1 Tbs lemon juice

Rinse and dry all the berries, then hull and chop the strawberries into medium-sized pieces. Place 1 cup of the strawberries and 1/4 cup of the blueberries in a medium-sized saucepan along with the water. Mash berries slightly. Add lavender and bring to a simmer. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt, then add to the saucepan along with the lemon juice and stir. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and let it cool for about ten minutes. Stir in the rest of the blueberries and chopped strawberries. The compote can be served immediately or chilled. It’s best the day it’s made because the strawberries start to break down, but the leftovers are great stirred into yogurt.

My Argument for Making Strawberry Shortcake, Using (Really) Informal Logic a la Govier

1. The cottage has a kitchen.
2. I like to bake.
3. I will bake something in the kitchen.
4. I want dessert.
5. The grocery store has fresh strawberries.
6. Strawberry shortcake is a good dessert.
7. I made strawberry shortcake for dessert!