Jennie Paddleford’s Souffle and Shortcake

Jennie Paddleford’s Souffled Crackers

From Hometown Appetites

20 unsalted soda crackers
1 egg white
5 teaspoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Pinch caraway seed for each cracker

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Soak soda crackers in a medium bowl of ice water, a few at a time, until slightly swollen and soft, about 20 seconds. (Don’t soak too long or they will disintegrate.) Arrange softened crackers in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Whisk egg white in a small bowl until very soft peaks form. Brush each cracker with some of the egg white, then sprinkle each with ¼ teaspoon of the cheese and a pinch of caraway seed.

Bake until slightly puffed and golden, 7 to 10 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 cocktail appetizers

Variation: For Red Pepper Souffled Crackers, omit egg white, cheese, and caraway. Brush each cracker with 1/8 teaspoon melted butter and sprinkle with cayenne. Proceed with recipe

Jennie Paddleford’s Strawberry Shortcake

From Hometown Appetites

3 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar, plus more to taste
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
½ cup whole milk
3 quarts strawberries
1 pint thick cream for passing (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Sift together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and ½ cup of the sugar into a large bowl. Combine with the ½ cup butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with lumps the size of small peas. Transfer dough to a bowl. Make a well and add to it the egg and milk. Work dough very gently with fingertips or pastry spatula; knead until it just holds together, about 10 seconds. Dots of butter should be visible; do not overwork dough. Generously flour work surface, then roll dough out to form two circles that are ½ inch thick and 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Wrap the disks tightly and chill. Set aside 16 of the best looking berries. Hull the rest, then halve and place in a bowl with the remaining ½ cup sugar or more, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Let strawberries macerate for at least 15 but no more than 45 minutes.

Remove dough disks from refrigerator. On 2 ungreased sheet pans, bake dough rounds 12 to 15 minutes, until golden on the outside and just cooked through in the center. Remove from oven and cool 10 to 15 minutes.

Slather the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter evenly on each disk. Transfer larger disk to a plate that will accommodate it and the juicy berries running off it. Pile macerated berries on top and then cover with the other biscuit. Garnish with reserved whole berries and serve with a pitcher of cold cream, if you like.

Yield: 8 servings