Sunday, June 12, 2011

strawberry season

Strawberries taste like summer. Also kind of like the color red. But that's probably just because it's my favorite color. Red fruit - strawbs, rasps and cherries are my favorite. And the same goes for artificially flavored things. I'll choose those first. But I digress.

My step-dad's family are farmers and completely awesome. They grow everything from green beans and soybeans to corn and onions. In fact, if you purchase Bird's Eye frozen green beans from the grocery store, you're eating their beans. Cool, right?

On the fruit side, there's Panek's Pickin' Patch - and in addition to pumpkins, there are STRAWBERRIES to pick! Todd (step-dad) took a visit back home to NY to visit his family. Upon his arrival, he produced two pints of strawberries!

I had intended to visit a local farm around here to pick strawberries this weekend, but as is the norm in New England, the weather was unpredictable and it rained the majority of the weekend. I wore jeans and a cardigan today! Um, June? Hello?

Because strawbs go bad quickly, I whipped up some Strawberry Shortcake from a recipe I adapted from Martha, complete with what is now becoming a specialty - homemade vanilla whipped cream.  And then I ate half of the batch.

You need:
One pint of strawberries
2.5 cups of flour
One stick of cold butter
One teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
One cup of heavy cream or buttermilk
A food processor

Halve the strawberries and put them in a bow. (No tops, either!)
Then pour two tablespoons of honey over the strawberries. I didn't want the sweetness of the honey to overpower the strawberry taste, but more tablespoons can be used. 
Mix, let sit.

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in the food processor. Give it a pulse or two in order to fully integrate the flour with the power and salt. Then, cut the cold butter into small chunks and add that to the mix. Pulse a number of times until the mixture is crumbly. Slowly add the cream as you pulse. Quickly the mixture will look like dough, but will still be crumbly. This is good! It makes for flaky, crumble biscuits.

Dump the crumbly dough mixture onto a baking sheet - use a separate one for the actual baking.  

Using your hands, pat the dough until you form a rectangle. These biscuits fluff up once baked but then come back down when cooled. I would flatten them out to a thickness that will work for you!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

When the dough is a rectangle, cut it into sizable squares. I was able to make 12 squares  out of my dough. 

Transfer the squares to a double baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Let the biscuits cool - if you can - and then drench in the strawberry mixture. Add whipped cream and prepare to eat more than two.

The original recipe called for baking these at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. I tried this, and after 12 minutes the bottoms of the biscuits began to burn. I had run out of parchment paper (which helps prevent bottom burning) so I'm sure this contributed. But after about 15 minutes, the biscuits seemed to be cooked enough. Just to be sure, I flipped them over to bake on the top, but I don't think this was necessary. 
If I were to bake these again, I think I would lessen the oven temp to 350.

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