By: Karen Bruner Stroup, Riley Hospital Historic Preservation Committee
I like strawberry shortcake. I especially like the old-fashioned strawberry shortcake served up to generations of alumni and faculty since 1947 at annual Indiana University School of Medicine Medical Alumni Weekends. IU School of Medicine’s strawberry shortcake — an ahhhhhhhh welcome return of a good friend every year on my plate, heaped with strawberries and whipped cream, and magically motivating good conversations and memories as I sit and reminisce with other classmates at not-to-be-missed alumni weekends.
IU School of Medicine’s strawberry shortcake has its own special story, one we should all know and remember as we return to Medical Alumni Weekends every year. Karyl Rickard and M. Sue Brady, professors emeriti, IU School of Health and Human Services Nutrition and Dietetics Department, IUPUI, gave me the official scoop that the creator of the one and only IU School of Medicine’s strawberry shortcake recipe was none other than Lute Troutt, R.D., first director of Nutrition and Dietetics at the Indiana University Medical Center. Troutt began her service in 1919 when the Nutrition and Dietetics Department was a part of IU School of Medicine. Retiring in 1960 after a 41 year career at the Medical Center, Troutt’s accomplishments and honors included establishment of one of the first approved dietetic internships in the United States, beginning of a graduate program for dietetic interns, and 1963 recipient of the American Dietetic Association’s highest award, the Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award.
Troutt’s recipe for strawberry shortcake, published some time ago,* is shown, in part, below to inspire all medical alumni to not let a summer pass you by without making this recipe for small gatherings of friends or family.
Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake
Portion: One shortcake or #eight dipper or six-ounce ladle of strawberries with two Tablespoons half-and-half cream
For six servings
Four and one half cups Strawberries
One half cup or four ounces Sugar, granulated
Two cups or eight ounces Flour, all-purpose
One Tablespoon + one teaspoon Baking powder
Three-fourths Teaspoon Salt
One third Cup or two and two thirds ounces Sugar granulated
Eight Tablespoons or one half Cup or one stick or four ounces Butter
One half Cup or four ounces Liquid whipping cream
One quarter Cup or two ounces Water, at room temperature
Three fourths Cup or six ounces Cream, half-and-half
- Wash, drain, and slice strawberries. To stem berries, use the round portion of a spoon or tip of paring knife and just scoop the stem out.
- Slice strawberries and sweeten with sugar, stirring to create juice. Adjust sugar to taste according to sweetness of berries.
- Premeasure all ingredients, have ingredients at approximately 75 degrees F.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar; stir with a slotted spoon.
- Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender or with two knives in a cutting motion to break the butter into small pieces throughout the flour. The resulting mixture should have a coarse, mealy consistency.
- Separately, stir together whipping cream and water. Add to the butter/flour mixture all at once, stirring just enough to moisten.
- Drop dough by the heaping Tablespoonful on ungreased baking sheet(s) approximately two inches apart to allow for spreading; if available, use a #20 dipper for portioning onto baking sheet(s).
- Place baking sheet(s) in oven. If oven has shelves, select middle shelf. Bake for 12-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
- To serve, top shortcake with strawberries. For a special touch, pour half-and-half cream over shortcake.
Sometimes, good work lives on, long after you move on. Little did Troutt know that her old-fashioned strawberry shortcake recipe would take on the things that legends are made of and become a lasting tradition and cherished memory of IU School of Medicine Medical Alumni Weekends.
This blog was facilitated by William A. Engle, M.D., FAAP, Erik T. Ragan Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine and Indiana University School of Medicine graduate, Class of 1979, who collaborated with Karen Bruner Stroup, Ph.D., retired Director, Community Education and Child Advocacy, Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and member, Riley Hospital Historic Preservation Committee, in the writing of this blog.
Support provided by Karyl Rickard and M. Sue Brady, professors emeriti, IU School of Health and Human Services Nutrition and Dietetics Department, IUPUI, who provided information about Troutt and her strawberry shortcake recipe, is acknowledged with gratitude.
Photo courtesy IUPUI University Library Special Collections and Archives.
*Recipe from: 1984 Collection of Recipes, Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, edited by H. Bernice Boucher, MS, RD, Copyright Indiana University School of Medicine.