These red, blue, purple juicy little treats have a magic power on me –the power of putting me in the best mood. I step out of the fruit shop and I cannot think of anything else but the beauty, elegance, brightness and sweet tartness of berries.
Here where I live in Northern Italy, most berries are grown locally and arrive to the market stands fresh and firm. I can’t help buying a couple baskets every time — blueberries, raspberries, red currant. This time was the time for raspberries.
It has been so long since I’ve been berry picking. I used to go when I was younger in the forests that come close to the beach. There I could find infinite quantities of tiny, wild blackberries. I had been making crumbles and granita all summer.
Now, all I can do is going to the market. But the only fact of being local berries makes me happy anyway, thinking that those colorful, bright red and green fields are not so far from here. Having them fresh makes a huge difference, too. Is almost like I picked them.
Then, I think about what to cook with them. My first instinct is to leave them as natural as possible, in fresh fruit tarts and galettes, or simply on yogurt and ice-cream. This is my way to go most of the time, especially when they are super-fresh –it would be a pity to cook them.
The truth, though, is that they are very good in baked treats, too. I love the sweet and sour combination I get in berry cakes, muffins and scones. I can find my favorite balance between flavors, I can find my equilibrium. Needless to say, I like the touches and splashes of color they give to whatever they touch —red nuances that tell stories of summer, sun, long days spent outside.
This summer hasn’t been very hot, yet, just warm. So, during sunny days, I enjoyed fresh raspberries with my morning yogurt and muesli, or just nature, sticking them in my fingers like Amélie. Then, on a cold morning, I turned on the oven and I baked scones. I don’t regret it –they are, oh, so good. Slightly salty, crumbly, tart, sweet, wild, rustic, delicate, substantial yet light. They have everything I like in sweets.
We ate them warm for breakfast with a generous spread of good butter, and with mid-afternoon coffee, bite after bite. We ate them with cold tea after dinner while reading a book. We ate them until we finished them. I will make more as long as the season lasts, and I will also make some to keep in the freezer for rainy fall days, when all you need is a warm sweet scone with some good-mood, red stones in it.
- 1 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
- 1 cup all-pourpose flour
- 1 T baking powder
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar (muscovado)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 T butter, cold, cut in small cubes
- 1 1/4 cup fresh raspberries, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup fresh ricotta
- 1/3 cup kefir (or full fat, plain yogurt)
Preheat the oven to 425 F (220C). Place a layer of parchment on a baking sheet and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, sugar and baking powder. Add butter and incorporate and break it into the flour using your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. Add the raspberries, mix well. In a small bowl, combine ricotta and kefir, then stir it with the rest of the ingredients the using a spatula. Mix well until combined. Dust your hands with flour and transfer the dough on a floured working surface. Pat down the dough until you get a 2 cm thick square.
Cut the dough into 9 regular squares, then transfer them on the prepared baking sheet using a spatula Transfer into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Take out of the oven and let cool a little on a rack before eating.
You may also like : Ricotta Pancakes with Banana Maple Topping Recipe