Saturday, July 7, 2012

Strawberries and Cream - Two Ways

Tomorrow is Wimbledon Sunday, and I will be getting up up bright and early (gotta love that time difference, but it could be worse like with the Australian Open) to watch tennis. Today I whole-heartedly rooted on Serena!! She is my favorite women's player, so I was glad to have someone to truly root for and even gladder to see her pull out the win in three sets. Tomorrow I'll be cheering for Federer, grudgingly, I almost never cheer for Federer. But because my absolute favorite, Nadal, bowed out of the tournament in the second round, I have no other choice. I know Andy Murray is Great Britain's favorite, but he's not mine.

The quintessential Wimbledon food to savor is Strawberries and Cream. Two days of Wimbledon Finals means two different variations of this combo... day one: Strawberries and Cream; day two: Strawberries and Cream Scones. Both recipes are quick and easy. Please enjoy!

Saturday's Strawberries and Cream
Consider doubling this if you have a full household. Here's a tip to successful whipped cream... chill your metal mixing bowl in the refrigerator for a few minutes before whipping your cream and sugar together. It makes the heavy cream respond that much faster.

Strawberries, sliced/quartered/halved
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 1/2 heaping teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup pecans or other nuts, chopped (optional)

Beat cream and sugar into soft peaks. Layer strawberries, whipped cream, and nuts to your heart's desire. Easy. Decadent. Breakfast?

Sunday's Strawberries and Cream Scones
First off, thanks Smitten Kitchen. I halved all of the ingredients in the original recipe except the strawberries. Figured this was definitely a more is better item. With baked goods like breads and delicate items, if there's a measured weight, I will use that instead of the measured volume. It's easier, faster, and more accurate. This made my halving of the recipe really easy so I was able to put the 1/8 of a cup of flour in without eye-balling it using a 1/4 cup. Anyway, here's the recipe for half a batch of strawberries and cream scones.

1 1/8 cups (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
1/8 cup (25 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams) cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup (5-6 large) strawberries, halved then quartered
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sift the flour into a bowl with a fairly wide bottom. Whisk in baking powder, sugar, and salt. Using the back of a fork or a pastry blender, cut in the butter. Look for a sandy appearance. The colder your butter, the better this part of the process will turn out. Gently fold in the strawberries until they all have a coating of the flour mixture. Then gently fold in the heavy cream. Resist the urge to get every last bit of flour mixed in here. It took me maybe 20 folding stirs. You just want to make sure not to over blend here. Generously flour a surface on which to dump the dough. You can pour any loose flour left in your bowl on top of the dough ball, and as you pat the dough out, it will mix right in. Your dough will be sticky, so make sure to flour your hands before starting to pat.

Work quickly here so the butter doesn't get too warm, so too much flour doesn't get mixed in, and the strawberries don't to lose too many juices. When your dough circle is 1/2-3/4 of an inch thick, it's good to go. I like to make sure the circle is kind of firmly patted out, especially at the edges, without smashing it or rolling it hard. Smashing and rolling hard are things I do to pizza dough.

Cut the dough circle into 8 even scones. If you're making a full batch, you will end up with two dough circles for a total of 16 scones. You could cut the circle into quarters, but that looked too large for me. I prefer cutting my scones this way instead of using a biscuit or cookie cutter because I avoid having to reroll the dough scraps. Place your scones on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet, and put it in the oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. When the bottom edges of the scones are lightly browned, they're done. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes or so before moving them to a cooling rack. This gives you plenty of time to admire these beauties.

As you probably noticed, there is not a lot of sugar in this receipe, so if you want to sweeten these crumbly soft scones up a bit, I'd suggest a dollop or two or three of whipped cream, maybe there's some leftover from the other strawberries and cream recipe. I'm just saying it might be a reasonable idea.

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