Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strawberry fields forever...

I have been waiting for what I like to call "the picking season" for months.  I'm pretty sure that dreams of ripe strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries are what got me through this past semester.
Last weekend I finally got to go strawberry picking, and it was amazing!  The drive there was really pretty - it's not that far from Charlottesville, but you feel like you're in a different world.  Picking was surprisingly fun.  And their strawberry ice cream was amazing.  (If you live in Cville, you have to go to Chiles Orchard in Crozet.)  Of course my camera battery died after I got one measly blurry picture.
Which just means I'll have to go back.
After picking 3.5 pounds of strawberries, I had to figure out what to do with them.  Besides just eating them, of course.  I had a few salads, this time with the full dressing.  I wanted to do something special though.  And my first idea was to make strawberry scones.  I found a lot of great recipes, and picked one.  They were great!  Really moist, and not too sweet.  I added a little extra sugar (since I figured 3 tbsp might not cut it for my sweet tooth).  I didn't have any cream or buttermilk on hand, so I used light coconut milk instead.  I wanted to use something that had a little fat in it, and the only real milk I had was skim.  It didn't add much of a coconut flavor, but I thought it turned out well.  I cut the dough into 8 wedges, instead of 6, and they were still really big.  Next time I would maybe make two small rounds, and cut them each into 6 wedges.

Recipe: Strawberry Scones (adapted from Confessions of a Tart)
1 cup diced strawberries
1/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
2/3 cup (cold) light coconut milk
raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Sprinkle fruit with 1/2 tbsp sugar, set aside.
Combine 1/4 cup sugar with flour, baking powder and salt.  Add butter, and use a pastry cutter or 2 knives (or your fingertips) to cut in the butter.  Stir in fruit; then add coconut milk all at once.  Use spatula to gently stir dough until it holds together.  It will be pretty wet.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to incorporate dry ingredients.  Be gentle so you don't break up the berries and don't overwork the dough.  Sprinkle dough with flour if it gets sticky.
Pat the dough into a circle 3/4 inch thick.  If any berries peek out, push them into dough.  Cut circle into 6-8 wedges, then transfer wedges to the cookie sheet, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space between them.  Sprinkle with the raw sugar.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are beginning to brown and spring back when you push them.

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