By Rose McAvoy
Roasting produce is a terrific way to take the usual flavor and turn the volume way up. Boosting the volume of flavor is among my top tips when it comes to lightening your cooking. We tend to read a lot about roasting vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Roasting fruit can be equally if not even more rewarding. Roasted apples, for instance, with some cinnamon and honey can be a real crowd-pleaser on a crisp fall evening.
Not long ago I got the urge to bake a whole mess of scones featuring fresh strawberries. I’ll share that recipe in my next post. In the meantime we need to get the strawberries de-juiced so they can be mixed into the scone batter. Scones are one of those slightly touchy pastries. The dough needs to be just moist enough to hold together, but too much liquid and you don’t have a scone you have a mess. Fresh off the vine strawberries can bring too much liquid to an otherwise perfect scone batter. You could use home or commercially dehydrated strawberries but I really wanted to keep as much of the peak of season flavor as possible. This brought me to roasting.
In my ears, roasted strawberries sounds fancy and sophisticated. Once I figured out the process I was delighted by their rustic simplicity. The result is a caramelized strawberry flavor minus most of the moisture that is just perfect for folding into a scone, muffin, pancake, or most other pastry.
Give roasting strawberries a try while they are still fresh and affordable, then stay tuned for the scone recipe!
2 pounds of fresh strawberries – washed &dried, stems removed, cut into 3/4 inch pieces (probably quarters or 1/8th depending on the size of your berries)
1. Lay the berries in a single layer on a parchment or silicone baking mat lined cookie sheet.
2. Bake the berries at 325 degrees for 30-45 minutes. I prefer a lower temperature for a longer time to really concentrate the flavor of the berries.
3. Most of the liquid will leak out of the berries and puddle up around them. (Once the berries have cooled you can peel up the juice and enjoy it as a faux fruit leather.)
4. Scoop the roasted berries into a sealed container and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake with them. The chilled roasted strawberries should keep for a couple of days. 2 lbs of fresh berries should leave you with about 1 cup after roasting.