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Red, White and Blue Desserts

Chef Gillian Clark from Colorado Kitchen.
NPR News
Chef Gillian Clark from Colorado Kitchen.
Strawberry shortcake.
NPR News /
Strawberry shortcake.
Blue Hawaiian smoothie.
NPR News /
Blue Hawaiian smoothie.

It's Independence Day again, which means it's time for fireworks, flags, and… desserts. Gillian Clark, head chef and owner of Colorado Kitchen in Washington, D.C. suggests some seasonal treats for the Fourth of July: an all-American shortcake made from summer strawberries and homemade biscuits, and chilled fruit smoothies to keep you cool in the July heat. Clark shares her recipes with NPR's Andrea Seabrook.

Strawberry Shortcake

4 pints of strawberries
4-6 tablespoons sugar (for the berries)
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
7 tablespoons sugar (for the biscuits)
5 ounces of cold butter (unsalted)
7 ounces buttermilk
7 ounces heavy cream
flour for dusting surface
1 beaten egg--for brushing the tops of cut biscuits
sugar to sprinkle on top before baking

To prepare the berries:

Wash and cut 4 pints of strawberries. Cut large berries into quarters, small berries in half. In a very large bowl, toss the cut berries with a generous dusting of sugar (about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons per pint).

To prepare the biscuits:

Pre-heat oven to 400.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into pea-sized cubes. Blend at medium speed until the butter is incorporated and the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and the cream. Blend until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a flour-dusted surface and knead twelve times. Pat the dough down and flatten it to about 1" thick -- you don't need a rolling pin. Cut with a sharp cutter (about 2 to 2" diameter circle.)

Place the cut biscuits on an ungreased baking pan. Allow plenty of room between each biscuit, about 4 to a row. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the beaten egg... coat well and evenly over the top. Generously sprinkle the egg-coated tops of the biscuits with sugar.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Let the biscuits cool slightly then pry them open very carefully with your hands. Place a large spoonful (about 1/3 cup berries and 4 Tablespoons of juice onto the bottom biscuit... place the top over the berries. Top with a healthy spoonful of whipped cream.

Lemon-Kissed Whipped Cream (for the shortcake)

juice and zest of one lemon
1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar
1 cup of cream

Place lemon juice, sugar and cream into a mixing bowl. Whip until firm, but not stiff, satin peaks form. (The peaks will hold their shape but lean slightly.)

Candied Lemon

Cut rind from lemon, making sure to remove the white pulp from the peel. Slice peel into slivers. Add lemon to a pot where water and sugar are boiling. Simmer at a rolling boil for 5-7 minutes. Remove lemon peels, sprinkle with sugar.

Blue Hawaii Smoothie

5 ounces of pineapple juice
3 ounces of frozen blueberries (1/3 cup)
3 ounces of frozen pineapple in small cubes
2 ounces of coconut sorbet

Blend ingredients at high speed and pour into a tall chilled glass. Some blenders vary: to properly blend the ingredients, you may have to stop the blender and shake the contents or turn the blender off and use a spoon to work the ingredients down to the blade before blending again. Add more juice as a last resort -- it will thin your smoothie.

Tropical Smoothie

5 ounces of pineapple juice
3 ounces of frozen mango slices
3 ounces of frozen pineapple cut into small cubes
2 ounces of coconut sorbet

Follow directions for the Blue Hawaii.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Andrea Seabrook covers Capitol Hill as NPR's Congressional Correspondent.