Strawberries and cream.
The words go together like... well, not like love and marriage. Those used to go together automatically. Now, not so much.
And not like peanut butter and jelly. Since peanuts are pretty much banned from elementary schools these days, it's more like soynut spread and jelly.
Just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?
How about wine, women, and song? Sexist.
Halloween and candy? Dangerous.
Computers and crash? Sorry, IT...
Ah, here's one we can all agree on: Night and day. It works backwards, too: day and night.
But still, not nearly as compelling as those succulent strawberries and rich, smooth cream.
I've always struggled with strawberries, when it comes to baking. Strawberry pie (better yet, strawberry-rhubarb pie) - superb!
But anytime I try to slice or dice fresh strawberries and use them in muffins, bread, cake, or even pancakes – they totally lose their luster.
To say nothing of their juice. There's nothing like a piece of fresh strawberry for creating a gooey pocket of gummy batter all around itself as it bakes.
Thus I approached this Strawberries & Cream Scones recipe with a certain amount of trepidation. What would make the outcome any different than what I've always found with other fresh strawberry recipes?
As it turned out: the amount of strawberry chunks. Fewer chunks = less opportunity for sogginess.
But, doesn't it also mean less strawberry taste?
Not when you add flavor in the form of puréed berries, which mix beautifully with the cream and egg to become a part of the scone's structure, rather than a problematic "add in."
The remaining chunks of fresh berry, separated by sufficient amounts of real estate in the scone, manage to stay remarkably ungooey.
Well, don't just take my word for it – make 'em yourself. If you've hesitated to bake anything beyond pie with fresh strawberries, give these scones a go.
Oh, they do have one issue, though - their color. Which is a rather unbaked-good-like flesh-tone.
But if you can live with that - these scones are a winner, especially now, while days are warm and late-afternoon tea on the veranda is a distinct possibility.
First, preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets, or a full-size or mini-scone pan.
Put the following in a mini-processor or blender:
1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons half & half or light cream
Process until smooth.
Add 1 large egg, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Stir to combine, and set aside.
I've used Vanilla Bean Crush here - see the flecks of seed and pod in the measuring spoon?
Whisk the following in a measuring bowl:
Add 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces.
Add this strawberry mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until the dough just barely starts to come together.
Add 2/3 cup diced fresh (not frozen) strawberries.
What happens if you use frozen? They'll be intractably soggy in the scones.
Also, this is a great place for Fiori di Sicilia; the orange/vanilla flavor plays wonderfully well with strawberries. Don't overdo it, though; I used 1/8 teaspoon, and it was just right.
Fold the strawberries in gently; the dough will be quite sticky.
I often eschew scone pans in these blog recipes, as I know not all of you have one. But this time I couldn't resist our mini scone pan, which makes 16 lovely little "diet friendly" scones.
Drop the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets (or into the scone pan, as shown here); each scone should be about the size of a golf ball. A tablespoon cookie scoop is exactly the right size for this task.
The dough needs some gentle flattening...
Next, an unusual glaze. Based on granulated sugar rather than confectioners', and tinted gold by a very high percentage of vanilla, this topping is applied before baking, giving the scones a delicately crunchy finish.
Stir together the following:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon water
Drizzle some glaze atop each scone.
Don't be stingy!
Bake the scones until they're just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges, 15 to 16 minutes (on a baking sheet or in a mini-scone pan), or 18 to 20 minutes (in a standard scone pan).
They'll rise nicely.
When fully baked, they'll be a very light tan; not really golden at all.
Carefully loosen a scone from the pan, and break it open; it should be moist (but not gummy) at the center.
Remove the scones from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool slightly before serving.
Let's gild the lily here - strawberry preserves are always welcome!
Store any leftover scones airtight at room temperature. Just before serving, reheat very briefly in the microwave, or for 5 to 10 minutes, tented with aluminum foil, in a preheated 350°F oven.
Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Strawberries & Cream Scones.
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