So it’s a big day… Today is my 100th post. Wow… I don’t know whether to be proud, embarrassed, or depressed. I think I’m a little of all three, but I’m going to say that I’m leaning towards the proud in order to justify my most recent purchase… a new digital camera. No, I didn’t splurge for the SLR because 1) I don’t think my little-seen photos warrant buying an SLR and 2) I literally felt sick to my stomach forking over the change for my new Canon point-and-shoot, so I probably would have triggered a full-on ulcer if I had dropped SLR change. Oh, and on day 3 of owning my new camera, I’ve already been asked to bring it to my last event helping out Dave Arnold at Star Chefs… Disaster waiting to happen? Yup. Did I remember to get insurance on this puppy? You betcha.
So to celebrate this mini-milestone and my new camera (mostly justify the camera purchase), I decided to bake up some strawberry scones. Actually, it all started because I was trying to be healthy and bought a quart of strawberries on the cheap. I bit into one and it actually tasted like a strawberry, which is pretty remarkable since outside of Tristars, strawberries have been tasting a lot like… well, like nothing. I ate half my quart and then cut up the rest and bought myself some buttermilk. I know most scone recipes call for dried fruits, but there’s something amazing about using fresh berries in scones. It’s a little like baking your jam right on in there, but it’s not gooey or sweet. Dense scone gets interrupted by tart, juicy, naturally sweet strawberry goodness.
For my 100th post and as an homage of the food tech life that I’m leaving behind, I decided to add one more element. I love Earl Grey tea, have loved it since I was a child, and I think it’s actually a hereditary obsession that I got from my mom. Specifically, I just love Bergamot. Every morning before school, my mom would make me Earl Grey tea with milk and sugar, and while it was brewing, I would sit and sniff the foil envelope from the tea bag.
And… perhaps you saw the episode of Top Chef Masters where Nils Noren used a smokey tea (Lapsang Souchong) to infuse into whipped cream, for which he was criticized with people complaining it was “too smokey.” All I want to say is that I have had that whipped cream and I have had it infused with even more lapsang… and it’s DELICIOUS. I’m using Earl Grey because I am mainstream, but the lapsang and the idea as a whole is Mastery.
For the home cook, use a wine bottle that you’ve cleaned out thoroughly and a Vacu Vin stopper. Add your (very cold) cream and loose leaf tea and vac like crazy until your arm hurts when trying to pull out anymore air. Let it sit in the fridge while you work on the rest of your scone mise and strain when ready to use.
I food processed my butter into my dry, added in some chopped strawberry and pulsed to coat in dry ingredients, then pulsed in my buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. I was trying to skip a step today, but I think I will go back to combining my liquid into my dry ingredients by hand as the food processor juices the berries a bit and the batter comes out a little pink, which bakes up a little too tan. I also have a “scone pan” that I got online for cheap years ago. It’s actually ridiculous and useless, but I have to use it now since I bought it.
Brush the scones with leftover buttermilk mixture and sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Bake it up and make sure to eat one straight out of the oven… then eat one when it’s cooled slightly… then eat one toasted after it’s cooled… each one tastes different, I swear!!!
So what have I learned after posting 100 times? How to use WordPress… somewhat. That and losing weight is a losing battle. At least I’m losing something, right?
Thank you for reading and laughing with or at me. Either way, I don’t really care as long as you’re laughing. But if you’re laughing at me and I find out about it, I’m going find you then slap you with a rope of cheese. Just a warning.
Strawberry & Earl Grey Scones
2.5 cups AP Flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt (I like to use a healthy pinch on scones – a little salt is kind of nice here)
6 tablespoons butter (ice cold and cubed)
1 pint diced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup toasted walnuts (make sure they’re cooled)
1/2 cup buttermilk (add a little extra to compensate for loss from pouring out of the bottle)
2 tablespoons loose leaf Earl Grey (feel free to use even more)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix loose leaf tea into cold buttermilk, pour into clean wine bottle, and vacuum down with Vacu Vin as much as possible. Keep in fridge – can be done the day before.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Toast & cool the walnuts.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together to combine. If making by hand, just stir to combine.
- Pulse in the cubed butter to create pea-sized little lumps or cut with a pastry cutter until pea lumps are achieved.
- Add in the strawberries and walnuts and pulse quickly just to coat in dry ingredients.
- Strain buttermilk and measure out ½ cup. Gently beat one egg to combine and mix in buttermilk and vanilla to incorporate.
- Mix all ingredients by hand (literally use your CLEAN hand) quickly – DON’T OVERWORK THE FLOUR! When just combined, dump out onto a flour work surface and gently fold a few times with another ½ cup of flour or so until you can form the dough together into a disk.
- Cut disk into 8 pie pieces, brush with leftover buttermilk, and sprinkle with Demerara.
- Bake until golden and crisp on the outside, but not overly dried out in the center – anywhere between 20 and 40 minutes depending on your oven. Rotate half way through.