13 June 2011

The Possibilities of Strawberries

Pierre LOVES Strawberries!
 Yesterday took John, Pierre and I to the family farm just a couple miles away from our home.  My brother has planted acres of strawberries in the last couple years to sell at Farmers Markets and also to fill his CSA customers weekly boxes.  He is always generous to allow us to share his bounty too! 

This week is beautiful strawberries!  It took me only about 20 minutes to pick this huge basket full and begin to indulge in springs finest fruit!  This year we are making conserve (a concentrated jam without added pectin) strawberry shortcake, Verrine with  lemon balm and bowl upon bowl or sliced strawberries with raw sugar!
A dirty but fulfilling job!
I tried a new shortcake recipe that we really enjoyed.  I'm not much for the "biscuit" type shortcake and I detest those weird sponge things at the grocery store (with a 12 year shelf life) so the experiment continues, but I think this recipe is a keeper! 

3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons self rising flour (you can make your own easily; 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt)
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 stick butter
2 Tablespoons raw sugar or demerara sugar

Mix flours together and cut in the butter until mixture resembles crumbs.  Mix in the sugar until dough just comes together.  Using your hands, form into a log, wrap with plastic and refrigerate about an hour. 

Cut dough into 6 chunks and roll out each one into a thin circle about 4 inch round.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees until lightly golden and just firm.  Remove from parchment immediately and place directly onto serving plates with a large spatula. 

Instead of whipped cream, I beat together a carton of mascarpone cheese with a couple tablespoons powdered sugar and a 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest.  Beat until smooth and spread evenly onto shortbread or drop a nice dollop along side your fresh strawberries.
I can't wait until you see the verrines tomorrow!  I brought back all of our yogurt containers from France JUST for these delightful desserts!  (Yes, there was much eye-rolling in security)

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