We're deep into Summer and baking has slowed. Instead, I find myself combatting fruit flies that have found their home in the windowsill. I hear the humming of a wasp nest being in an unreachable part of our porch. We worry about the dogs; Murphy is allergic. We have it on our to-do list for this long weekend.
Yesterday, we canoed down the Monogahela. Wine drunk, we floated and made new friends. The rain water stirred up soot and mud and I lost track of how many rocks I skipped when we stopped to swim. And we pulled out the sofa bed and threw on a black-and-white movie and fell asleep to the orchestra of heart beats and dog pants and the air conditioner whirring in the mess of sweat and fog that is 10 o'lock in Pennsylvania.
Two weeks ago, we began this process of running away from the heat in our house and embracing it more outdoors. We went strawberry picking one Sunday. It was Nolan's idea. He's more creative in this regard, having done more things in his childhood, he can recall those times and recreate them for us now. We drove out to a town called Armagh and grabbed a cardboard box for every berry we found. We laughed and forgot about time here again, too. We stayed on the familiar path and pushed the leaves away a bit deeper. We met a collie named Rudy. We left our orange flag, the indication that a row has been picked-through, and we kissed in the sunlight. We took a two hour nap that afternoon.
We've snacked on these berries, fed on them. We've given them to our chickens and put them on a cheese plate when we wanted a light dinner. We had them with oatmeal and Pimm's and this week I'll make them the last of them into a crumble. But the first dish I made with them, my favorite for every year (as seen here, here, here, and here), was to put them in a shortcake and enjoy them as they were--some sour, some sweet, some blood red and some white.
Lemon Poppyseed Scone "Shortcake"
- 2 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 TB baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
- 1 egg + 1 yolk (for egg wash)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 TB vanilla
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 TB poppyseeds
- Preheat oven to 400*F and prepare a sheet pan with a Silpat or parchment paper
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt
- With clean hands, roll the butter into the flour with your fingers, creating flakes. Continue to crumble butter until fat is the size of peas
- In a measuring cup, whisk together your egg, cream, vanilla, and lemon
- Create a well in your dry ingredients and with a wooden spoon slowly mix while you pour your wet ingredients in
- Continue to mix until fully incorporated and a dough comes together
- Pat out onto a floured work surface and shape into a rectangle
- Cut into 9 pieces and transfer onto your prepared sheet
- Make an egg wash (1 yolk + 1 TB water) and brush onto your scones
- Sprinkle each with poppyseeds
- Bake for 25 minutes or until golden
- Allow to cool while you prepare your whipped topping and strawberries
Whipped topping and preparation: In a stand mixer, whisk 1/2 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form, then add 4 oz creme fraiche (I love Vermont Creamery's), 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until peaks form.
Cut a scone in half, add whipped filling and a few strawberries and enjoy!