Recipe: Strawberry Vanilla Scones

My favorite fruit is strawberries, but this comes with a problem. When strawberries are bad, they are terrible, tart, and tasteless. Luckily, the strawberries sold at my local farmer’s market are the best strawberries you will ever taste. Gaviotas they are called by the farmers at Harry’s Berries, but they should be called Perfection. These are the most incredible strawberries I have ever tasted.

So naturally, I had to turn them into scones. Only logical progression, right?

Strawberry Vanilla Scones

Strawberry Vanilla Scones

Gaviotas are incredibly sweet on their own and have a very strong flavor, so I felt that my usual scone recipe would have a too marked taste itself to meld with the strawberries. The two would be battling for supremacy, not enhancing each other’s deliciousness. Instead, I chose to mellow the scone’s flavor using a mascarpone cheese base and adding vanilla bean paste for supporting the Gaviotas.

Mascarpone is a mild Italian cream cheese reminiscent of butter or British clotted cream (that wonderful spread that improves almost any scone); using it as the binding agent and fat source in the dough made for a wonderfully creamy and delicate scone. The scone’s interior will literally melt in your mouth as the essence of the strawberries permeates every bite.

Strawberry Vanilla Scones

Strawberry Vanilla Scones

Strawberries–or at least this variety–are an interesting fruit to bake with. Most berries seem to become almost more tart and brightened once heated, but these strawberries seemed to mellow. Maybe it was the mascarpone and vanilla’s influences, but these strawberry scones were not strawberry-candy-esque, but rather the summer British dessert of Strawberries and Cream turned into a scone.

These are perfect for a sophisticated, feminine occasion like a baby shower tea party. Do not top with anything other than the thinnest layer of clotted cream. The scones are moist enough to not need a topping, and an additional flavor will overwhelm the soft strawberries.

Strawberry Vanilla Scones

Strawberry Vanilla Scones

Strawberry Vanilla Scones

Ingredients

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50 g ultrafine baking sugar
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 scraped vanilla bean
  • 200 g mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 220°C or 450°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add sugar and mix until well blended. Toss in strawberries until they are well dispersed.
Work in the vanilla paste and mascarpone until the dough has formed even sized clumps. Sprinkle water over dough and knead until clumps come together. This is an extremely wet dough.
Place on a heavily floured work surface and pat down to desired thickness (1 cm). Cut out scones with a cutter (5 cm) dipped in more flour and place on baking sheet. Knead scraps back together and repeat until the majority of the dough has been used. In between kneading rounds, replenish the work surface’s flour coating.
Bake for 7-9 minutes until lightly browned on top. These will rise only a little bit.
Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Savor.

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