scones

Sauteed Strawberry Strawberry Shortcake

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My birthday is in a few days and usually we get together with the kids and grandkids to celebrate at my house. There’s always an apple pie for dessert at some point because I prefer homemade apple pie to birthday cake. And I always have apple pies in the freezer.

But this is an unusual year for our family: graduation and bat mitzvah celebrations, along with several birthdays, Father’s Day and so on — and so — no birthday get-together at my place.

(Actually, at some point during the week I will invite my sister-in-law Eileen and brother Jeff — and I’ll take out some pie for us to enjoy.)

In the meantime, for the two of us, I will celebrate with individual strawberry shortcakes. I made the biscuits already (they’re frozen). Whipped cream takes about 2 minutes in the mixer. I am hoping to find great strawberries — they are in season, so it should be easy.

Last week I actually couldn’t find wonderful berries, even at the Farmer’s market.

So I bought what they had and gave them a quick saute.

Which is what I will do again if the berries aren’t perfect.

This was quite delicious. Here’s the recipe, for strawberry shortcake when you can’t get the best berries.

Sauteed Strawberry Shortcake 

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 4 cups cut up fresh strawberries

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 2 tablespoons orange flavored brandy or rum

  • Shortcake biscuits

  • Sweetened whipped cream

  • Fresh mint for garnish

Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the berries, stir to coat them with butter and cook for one minute. Sprinkle with the sugar, toss and pour in the brandy. Stir, cook briefly and set aside. Cut the biscuits in half. Place the bottoms of each on dessert plates. Layer with some of the berries and some of the whipped cream (reserve some whipped cream for the top). Cover with the biscuit tops. Garnish with a blob of whipped cream and some mint leaves.

 Makes 8 servings

 

Biscuits 

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup cake flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel, optional

  • 8 tablespoons cold butter

  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Mix the flour, cake flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a bowl. Stir in the lemon peel, if used. Cut the butter into chunks and add it to the bowl. Work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (or use a food processor on pulse). Pour in the buttermilk and mix until you can form a soft ball of dough. The dough will be slightly sticky. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead a couple of times. Roll the dough gently to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out circles with a doughnut cutter or the bottom of a glass. Place the circles on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 20-23 minutes or until they have risen and are lightly browned.

 Makes 8

Cheddar Scones and Apple Butter

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I'm still thinking about New Year breakfast/brunch ideas for when my cousins come for our annual sleepover. Shakshuka is a definite. But I am also going to make these cheddar cheese scones and serve them with butter and/or a really special apple butter condiment that I tasted at Kosherfest last November.

You can use any good, sharp cheddar for the recipe, but at Kosherfest I tasted The Cheese Guy’s Double Ale Cheddar Cheese, which won an award for Best Dairy/Cheese, and loved its boozy tang, so if you can find it, you can give it a try.

The company's Vermont Apple and Maple Syrup Butter also won for Best Jams/Preserves and Dried Fruit. I figured -- the sharp cheese and the sweet apple butter -- it's a good combo!

Cheese Scones                          

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup plain Greek style yogurt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add the butter in chunks and work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cheese. Mix the egg and yogurt together and add them to the dry ingredients. Mix until a soft dough forms. Roll the dough on a floured surface to a circle of 1/2" thickness. Cut the dough into eighths. Place the scones on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until scones are browned and well risen.

Makes 8

 

Irish Oat Scones

    

 

 

I don't make scones very often because I have a difficult time limiting myself to one. I usually eat two. Or three. And then feel guilty and tell myself I will work out more. But of course, I don't do that either.

On the other hand --- tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day and even though I am not Irish, I figure, why not take an opportunity to celebrate? I love Irish food, especially the scones.

So, here's my recipe. Whatever your heritage, try these on Saint Patrick's Day or whenever.

 

Irish Oat Scones

  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons shortening, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon peel in a food processor (or large bowl). Process briefly (or mix) to combine ingredients. Add the butter and shortening and process on pulse (or mix with your fingers or pastry blender) until the mixture looks crumbly. Add the milk and process (or mix) until a soft dough forms. Place the dough on a floured board, knead briefly and press into a disk about 3/4" thick. Cut out circles with a 3-inch cookie cutter. Place the circles on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned.

Makes 8

Classic Strawberry Shortcake

I know it was Julia Child’s 100th birthday this week and she was an important person in my life. Although it was my Mom who taught me the basics, Julia taught me to take giant leaps beyond. I didn’t cook every recipe in her first volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I did make many of them. A boyfriend had given me that book — a treasured first edition — which is now gravy stained and coverless and signed by Julia herself on one of my favorite recipes (I met her when I took a cooking course along with several hundred other people like in some College 101 class). 

 So, Happy Birthday Julia. 

 But this week was also a friend’s birthday. A what you call “round number” birthday, so I invited her to my house, along with another friend, who recently celebrated that same round number birthday. We had a few hors d’oeuvre with a nice few glasses of wine, then grilled fish with  Grilled Pineapple Salsa  (and a few vegetables) for dinner. 

 SO healthy. We are all at that nice round number watch-what-you-eat age. 

 But dessert? Oh well. Why count calories when summer strawberries are out and you can eat Strawberry Shortcake? 

 Which is what I made instead of baking or buying a birthday cake. 

 Not a morsel was left on our plates. 

  
Classic Strawberry Shortcake 

 2 pounds fresh strawberries  
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar 
orange, mango or papaya juice 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 teaspoon salt 
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon peel 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 
1 large egg 
1/2 cup milk 
1 cup whipping cream 

 Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash the berries and slice them into a bowl, sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons sugar and a few tablespoons of juice and set aside. In another bowl, mix the flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon peel. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk together until well combined. Add the liquids to the flour mixture and mix until a soft dough forms. Roll or press the dough to 1/2-inch thick circle on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 8 circles with a cookie cutter. Place the circles on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12–15 minutes or until puffed and lightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Whip the cream with the remaining teaspoon sugar until the mixture stands in soft peaks. Cut the biscuits in half and place each bottom half on a serving dish. Place the berries and any accumulated juices on top. Pour some of the cream on top. Top with the remaining biscuit halves. Makes 8 servings.

I know it was Julia Child’s 100th birthday this week and she was an important person in my life. Although it was my Mom who taught me the basics, Julia taught me to take giant leaps beyond. I didn’t cook every recipe in her first volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but I did make many of them. A boyfriend had given me that book — a treasured first edition — which is now gravy stained and coverless and signed by Julia herself on one of my favorite recipes (I met her when I took a cooking course along with several hundred other people like in some College 101 class).

So, Happy Birthday Julia.

But this week was also a friend’s birthday. A what you call “round number” birthday, so I invited her to my house, along with another friend, who recently celebrated that same round number birthday. We had a few hors d’oeuvre with a nice few glasses of wine, then grilled fish with Grilled Pineapple Salsa (and a few vegetables) for dinner.

SO healthy. We are all at that nice round number watch-what-you-eat age.

But dessert? Oh well. Why count calories when summer strawberries are out and you can eat Strawberry Shortcake?

Which is what I made instead of baking or buying a birthday cake.

Not a morsel was left on our plates.


Classic Strawberry Shortcake

2 pounds fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
orange, mango or papaya juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon peel
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash the berries and slice them into a bowl, sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons sugar and a few tablespoons of juice and set aside. In another bowl, mix the flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt, baking powder and lemon peel. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk together until well combined. Add the liquids to the flour mixture and mix until a soft dough forms. Roll or press the dough to 1/2-inch thick circle on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 8 circles with a cookie cutter. Place the circles on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12–15 minutes or until puffed and lightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Whip the cream with the remaining teaspoon sugar until the mixture stands in soft peaks. Cut the biscuits in half and place each bottom half on a serving dish. Place the berries and any accumulated juices on top. Pour some of the cream on top. Top with the remaining biscuit halves. Makes 8 servings.