Divine Dining: Strawberry Sour Cream Scones
As a child, there were several rituals that heralded the imminent return of summer: there were the longer evenings, where the sun stayed out long enough to ride bikes outside after supper. There was the sense of itchy restlessness where, try as I might, I couldn’t focus on school but instead daydreamed about the adventures I’d have when I went to visit my grandparents that summer.
And, there were the strawberries. I would open the fridge door and, on a particularly lucky day, see a chipper little punnet of fresh strawberries in their plastic green container. I’d pluck a handful out, rinse them in cold water and immediately plunge them into powdered sugar. The rinsing was, of course, not so much to clean them but to allow as much sugar to adhere to them as possible. I’d grin with red juice running down my chin and go in for another, and another.
So you see, strawberries aren’t just any ordinary fruit. They are the Paul Revere of summertime, heralding days of warm evening breezes and fireflies just around the corner. As such, they must be celebrated.
Dipping them in powdered sugar is still my favorite way to eat them, but as that recipe might be a tad too simple for publishing, I’ll share one that is a very close second: strawberry sour cream scones. These rustic little jazzed-up biscuits are incredibly versatile. Enjoy with your morning French roast, or with afternoon tea or even warmed and topped with fresh whipped cream for a sublime after-dinner dessert. I won’t tell anyone if you put all three suggestions into practice on the same day.
Summer is coming … and it’s going to be delicious.
Strawberry Sour Cream Scones
Makes about 2 dozen scones.
1 cup chopped strawberries
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
3 T. granulated sugar
3 T. coarse raw cane sugar (such as turbinado)
1/3 cup cold salted butter (I rarely bother with buying unsalted butter for baking, but instead just omit adding any other salt), diced small
1/2 cup regular sour cream
1/3 cup whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Add butter and work into the flour mixture until you reach the consistency of pea-sized pieces of butter and flour. You can use one of those fancy pastry cutters for this, or do like I did and just use those things attached to your arms that are quite useful. If using your hands, just work very quickly, breaking up the butter in the flour mixture with your fingertips, but not allowing it to melt in your hands. Mix in strawberries. Adding the strawberries now instead of at the end allows for flour to stick to them, making sure they are evenly distributed in the scones and do not sink to the bottom. Combine milk, sour cream and vanilla and stir into flour and strawberry mixture until a sticky dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add more milk, 1 T. at a time, until you reach a sticky dough. Flour a work surface well and turn dough onto it. Form into a ball and roll with a well-floured rolling pin, working from the center out until the dough is a uniform 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 3-inch biscuit cutter to make scones that are more traditional English/Irish style, or use a sharp knife and cut into small triangles for American-style scones. Sprinkle each scone generously with the coarse sugar and bake until lightly browned, 15 minutes. These scones are best served the day they are made, but the dough can be refrigerated for two days before baking if desired.
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The Rev. Whitney Wilkinson is pastor of Cameron Presbyterian Church.