Post by Alison Hein.
Wild red strawberries used to grow rampantly throughout our region. The native Leni Lenape crushed these tiny sweet jewels and mixed them with cornmeal to form a sweet cake. Odes were written to them, such as this excerpt from a poem written by Robert Graves:
Strawberries that in gardens grow
Are plump and juicy fine,
But sweeter far as wise men know
Spring from the woodland vine.
No need for bowl or silver spoon,
Sugar or spice or cream,
Has the wild berry plucked in June
Beside the trickling stream
Even though these tiny wild gems have largely disappeared from our area due to commerce and development, plenty of their “plump and juicy fine” garden cousins are still available. Locally grown berries can be found until the end of June, and hothouse grown can be purchased throughout the year. While they are still in season, try some in this easy scone recipe. Puréed berries give the dough a tender texture and lovely rose-hued tinge – a poetic breakfast in bed.
16 ounces fresh strawberries, cleaned and trimmed
3 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (one half stick) cold butter
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Extra flour for shaping scones
Chop half of the cleaned strawberries, and purée the other half in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425°. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine milk, vinegar and one egg. Mix well, then add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed in. Stir in pureed strawberries. Add chopped strawberries. Mix in gently. Do not overmix or dough will become tough.
Turn batter out onto floured board. Divide into 8 equal pieces and shape into balls. Press each ball gently into a flat round. Cut a cross in the top of each scone, but do not cut all the way through.
Place scones on lightly greased cookie sheet. Lightly beat remaining egg, and brush on top of scones. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Place in oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.
Makes 8 scones.