Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Strawberry Season

The ripe, red berries of late spring, strawberries!, are the perfect jumping off point for Mothers' Day desserts (and breakfasts).

Top of my list when strawberries are finally here locally is strawberry shortcake. When I was young, my Dad made a special effort to have good strawberries to treat Mom on Mothers' Day since it is one of her favorites, too. We usually had a vanilla sponge cake with the berries and whipped cream, but I like scones for my version.

This time I took the classic Cream Scone recipe found in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: from my home to yours book and changed it up a bit. I added a bit of almond extract and substituted some almond flour (meal) for some of the all-purpose flour. I also substituted some cake flour for some of the all-purpose flour for a more delicate scone. Unfortunately I was so focused on getting the proportions of the all-purpose, cake and almond flours right that I neglected to add the baking powder and sugar to the dry ingredients, although I did remember the salt. Fortunately I caught my mistake while mixing in the wet ingredients, so I sprinkled some baking powder over the partially mixed dough so that it got stirred in with the liquid ingredients and kneading. To help with the lack of sugar I sprinkled sanding sugar on top of each wedge once it was on the baking sheet.

Since these scones will be served with sweetened sliced berries and sweetened whipped cream I suspect that the lack of sugar will not even be noticed. When you make 'em don't follow my example...follow the recipe.

Almond Cream Scones
Cream Scones enriched with both almond flour and almond extract
a variation of two recipes in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: from my home to yours
"Perfect for every scone-able occasion"

1 large egg
2/3 cup cold heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 cup almond flour
(or grind 1/2 cup blanched almonds and the following sugar in a food processor until finely ground)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Stir the egg, cream and almond extract together. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, cake flour, almond flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between...and that is just right.

Pour the egg and cream over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Don't overdo it. Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place it on the baking sheet. (at this point, the scones can b e frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight. Don't defrost before baking - just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.)

Bake the scones for 20 -22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish.

Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for them to cool to room temperature.

Every now and then I take a look back at some of the past posts I've done. Changing seasons are a natural for retrospect. It turns out that I have a lot of strawberry related recipes so I'll give you some, including the link. Some suggestions for using strawberries beyond strawberry shortcakes are Strawberry Mirror Cake if you want a show-stopping dessert that really showcases the beauty of the berries,

Berry Good Ice Cream Cake Roll which uses berries and cake for an ice cream roll that is great when it gets hot, as it sometimes does for Mothers' Day,

Brown Sugar Bundt Cake with Strawberries which can be made ahead since the berries keep the cake moist and luscious,

Rhubarb Strawberry Streamed Pudding for the perfect spring combination of strawberries and rhubarb,

Strawberry Rhubarb Pound Cake which would be lovely for a Mothers' Day tea party,

Strawberry Topped Cheesecake, another impressive showy dessert that is sure to please,

Strawberry Tart if you are more of a tart person than a cheesecake person,

and a simple but sweet dessert, Fresh Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate. Yum!

You can have a great breakfast in bed for Mom with a nice bowl of Strawberries with Yogurt and Lemon Zest,

or even Crispy Overnight Waffles to pile high with sliced fresh strawberries.

California Strawberry Scones can be the perfect treat for breakfast or tea time and are really easy, too.

Dinner can include strawberries if you make Strawberry Chicken Salad for your Mom.

There are lots and lots of things to do with the seasonal wonder of strawberries. Just be sure to enjoy them now because soon all that will be available will be woody, tasteless 'strawberries' that your mother would tell you to just leave at the market.

Happy Mothers' Day to all you Moms, Grandmothers, Great-Grandmothers and to all of them who are with us in spirit if not in fact! I'll be away from my computer on Mothers' Day so I'm getting a jump on the holiday...and giving you some ideas for ways to celebrate with strawberries, too.


  1. Today I saw the first strawberries of this year at the market, but I didn't have the heart to buy some.
    I think I'll wait for a week or two until the season gets really under way.

  2. Oh My! Strawberries OVERLOAD! I am in heaven!

  3. Alas I haven't been able to get to the Farmers Market in weeks but I know the strawberries have started. Making strawberry shortcake is the first thing to do on my list once I get those tasty berries! Dories scone recipe sounds perfect!

  4. Our season of strawberries is over here in the north of Thailand. But, next year....
    I love to eat strawberries, but what you make with them is amazing and looks so delicious

  5. Oooh, so many beautiful ways to use strawberries! Your mirror cake turned out perfectly! And I'm wishing I had some of those scones to go with breakfast today.