Wednesday, January 25, 2012

roasted strawberry ricotta scones

In the past few days I've learned something - the magnificence of a roasted strawberry. Sure, I've done the roasted strawberry thing before, but I don't think I had it quite right. Don't get me wrong, they were really tasty, but after this experience, I don't think I had roasted them long enough. When you roast strawberries to the point where they begin to dry and disintegrate, all the water (the hallmark of California GMO strawberries) leaches out and you're left with little shrunken miracles that explode with the flavour of summer. Even in January. Seriously.

I was originally inspired to make these in muffin form by the tub of ricotta in the fridge and the 3 for $5 watery California strawberry sale at Metro. I immediately googled to see if anyone had done it. Lo and behold they had (at I balked at the idea of going to the trouble of roasting strawberries - who has the time to roast strawberries for 45 minutes in the morning?! - and followed this recipe without taking that step. And that's the story of how I welcomed the morning with dense little muffins, studded with squishy, slimy, watery cooked strawberries. Yumyumyum. Sarcasm.

Now I understand the purpose behind roasting the strawberries. So really - don't skip this step. Do what I did, and roast them the night before so you can just pop them in your dough the next morning.

I was also underwhelmed by the muffin component of the recipe, so I decided to try the strawberry-ricotta thing in scones instead. I used the recipe for sour cream blueberry scones and modified it. Even more exciting was the idea of using lightly sweetened ricotta as a filling. Fun and good!

roasted strawberry ricotta scones
makes 8 scones

2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick of butter, frozen and grated on a cheese grater
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar
1 heaping teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup ricotta cheese, divided
1 teaspoon icing sugar
coarse sugar for sprinkling

  • Strawberries:  (I recommend doing this step the night before) Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (do line it unless you have a non-stick baking sheet!).
  • Toss strawberries with coarse sugar, then scatter in a single layer over baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, or until they are beginning to dry out and disintegrate. Allow the berries to cool then set aside (or refrigerate if making the night before).
  • Scones: Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, 2 tablespoons of sugar, lime zest, sour cream and 1/4 cup ricotta.
  • In a small bowl, combine last 1/4 cup of ricotta cheese and icing sugar. Set aside.
  • Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and work it together with your hands. You want the texture to be something like coarse meal. Throw in the strawberries and distribute them evenly. Pour in egg mixture and work everything together into a dough, taking care not to handle it more than necessary.
  • On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into an approximately 8" round. Using a sharp knife, cut the round in half horizontally, so that you have two round disks. Spread the ricotta filling on the bottom half, leaving about an inch clear around the edges. Replace the top half then seal the edges. 
  • Cut disk into 8 wedges (i.e. carefully cut it like a pizza) and arrange onto baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until scones are golden on top. Serve fresh out of the oven!

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