Monday, February 8, 2010

Strawberries in February

I'll admit it, I'm a strawberry snob. (Goes well with being a mushroom snob, a sweet corn snob and a bread snob). I refuse to buy supermarket strawberries, instead relying on a farm in Sussex County NJ where I can pick my own in season. Out of season I rely on what I've frozen or dried.

We find no better way to enjoy the juicy, pop-in-the-mouth sweetness of frozen, sugared strawberries than over GF biscuits. Maybe that isn't "Strawberry shortcake" in the traditional sense, but the slight toughness of a well-formed biscuit balances nicely with the berries' tenderness.

I shorten my biscuits with a blend of coconut "paste" and butter, and use a technique I learned in a piemaking class. Coconut is a wonderful "surprise!" flavor, and it works well with strawberries.

These biscuits are also excellent with rhubarb and blueberries; they're even grand without anything. If I've made more than I think we'll need for dessert, my wife and I pop a couple right into our mouths as soon as they're cool enough not to burn the tongue.
GF coconut biscuits

116 gr featherlite mix (From Bette Hagman's The Gluten Free Gourmet Makes Comfort Food)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp Bakewell Cream (powder)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbls Goya Brand creamed coconut (Available in Spanish markets)
2 tbls butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (Whole milk brand works best)

Chill all ingredients. Preheat oven to 450 F. Thoroughly whisk all dry ingredients until well-blended. Cut shortenings into lima-bean-size chunks, toss into flour mix, then pinch into thin bits. Toss and pinch until all shortening chunks are flat, taking care not to transfer heat from your fingers. Add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until dough is just blended in a shaggy ball. Turn out onto plastic wrap and pat into a rough and shaggy disk @ 3/4" thick. Using a 1" to 1 1/2" cookie cutter, cut into circles. Arrange these on parchment. Recombine leftover dough and continue cutting into circles until all dough is cut. Bake - preferably on a pizza stone -  10-12 min. Cool on a wire rack

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