The Imperial Valley social season is something that I vividly remember as a child. I remember the drive we would take every Monday night over to the Stockman’s Club for Monday Night Football. I’d make my dad give me a dollar or two so I could get Shirley Temple’s from the bar.
When fall was over, the social season shifted to fair activities, springtime farmers markets and one last dinner at the Stockman’s Club—El Toro’s annual Spaghetti Dinner.
Every year, my family would make the trek to the Stockman’s Club for one last dinner before the summer heat rolled in. I loved the atmosphere of the event: family, food, and fun. They’d always have the back patio open so we could enjoy dinner while appreciating the nice weather outside.
Dinner was delicious, but I always looked forward to dessert. Dessert was strawberry shortcake, but the shortcake part was not the typical. Instead of being served on pound cake or a biscuit, the strawberries and whipped cream were served on a crunchy crust.
I am not sure who made the dessert for this event or where they got the recipe from, but after asking around and doing some research I found out that it was actually a crust made out of saltine crackers. While I do not have the top secret and original recipe that is used at the Stockman’s Club, I did find a recipe that comes quite close.
Soda Cracker Pie Crust
3 egg whites
½ cup- ¾ cup white sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
½ cup soda crackers, finely crushed
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped pecans
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 package strawberries, chopped
1 Tbsp. sugar
1). Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2). In a medium bowl, beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Fold in sugar, baking powder, crackers, vanilla and pecans. Spoon mixture into a greased 9 inch pan.
3). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden. Cool and serve with strawberries and whipped cream on top.
Directions for Whipped Cream:
1). Combine heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla together in a bowl. Mix on high until well whipped. Chill in refrigerator.
This version of Strawberry Shortcake is one of my favorite summer time desserts. The crust is nice and crunchy but still soft and has the perfect sweetness to it. Topped with the fresh strawberries and whipped cream, it makes for a wonderful and light dessert.