We Canadians wait most impatiently for our little slice of summer. It seems like it always takes forever to get here, and then if you blink, it’s all over. So while we have those precious days of summer, we need to make the most of them.
I remember as a child, going with my parents to “pick your own’ farms for strawberries. We’d join other families as they ambled up and down rows of berry patches, filling up their quart baskets, trying really hard not to eat what they had just picked. Or at least, that was the situation for me!
And then in later years, we had moved to a home in southern Ontario, with enough property in the backyard to have a proper garden. The kind of garden that causes hours of tolling as our assignments of weeding and picking never seemed to let up the entire season.
Along with strawberries, we had quite a huge raspberry bush, and then there were all the melons, and stone fruit trees like cherry and peach. Even a pear tree or two could be found in our backyard. Often I could be found up in a cherry tree, eating all the ripe cherries, till I came down with the inevitable stomach ache. I never learned!!
There are so many recipes for berries. Pies, crisps, cobblers, compotes, jams, jellies, and cakes. So today, I thought I’d share an easy to whip up biscuit that can be topped with either berries or stone fruit.
The biscuit is a simple flakey recipe that uses Tre Stelle® Ricotta. It works so well here, and gives the final biscuit such a tender texture. While the fruit is macerating in a combination of simple syrup and bourbon (which you can cook off to remove any alcohol if needed), you will whip up some more Ricotta with heavy cream and sugar.
Then it’s just a matter of layering. A fresh biscuit is topped with the whipped Ricotta, and then the softened and flavoured berries are spooned over the cream and biscuit. This fresh dish is perfect for a summer brunch or dessert.
Later in the season, when stone fruits are at their peak, why not replace the berries with sliced apricots, nectarines or peaches and plums?
Enjoy all our Canadian summers have to offer, and make it all the more special with Tre Stelle® cheeses!
3/4 cup Tre Stelle® Extra Smooth Ricotta
1/4 cup kefir or buttermilk, plus more for brushing the tops
2 cups All Purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
8 tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 cup Tre Stelle® Extra Smooth Ricotta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp cane sugar
1 tsp bourbon (optional)
2 cups fresh berries, cleaned and sliced (can use strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or even apricots, nectarines or peaches)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp bourbon
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
Place oven rack in centre position and preheat the oven to 425F.
Whisk the Ricotta and kefir or buttermilk together in a small bowl.
In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and blend for about 2-3 seconds. Scatter the butter cubes over the flour and blend till the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add the Ricotta mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead until it all comes together. If needed, you can add an extra bit of flour.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 inch square. Using a bench scraper or spatula, fold 1/3 over to the middle. Then fold the other side over, like folding a letter. Then fold this in half. You should have a rough 4 inch square.
Press down with the rolling pin and repeat this process one more time.
Roll into an 8 1/2 square.
Trim 1/4 inch off of all sides, with a sharp knife in clean strokes. Do not cut back in forth in a sawing motion, as this will close up the layers, and the biscuits will not rise properly.
Cut the 8 inch square into 9 even square biscuits. Cut using the same motion as above, do not cut back and forth. Clean cuts will allow the biscuits to rise perfectly in the oven.
Transfer these to a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch in between each.
Brush the tops with some more kefir or buttermilk.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until well risen and a lovely golden brown colour. Rotate the pan half way through the baking. Let cool for 5 minutes.
In a small pot, heat the sugar and water over medium high heat. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, you can add the bourbon, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. This will allow the alcohol to burn off. If you are serving adults, you can remove the sugar syrup off the burner and cool slightly before adding the bourbon. Let cool.
Place the berries into a medium sized bowl. Pour the syrup over them and let them rest for 15 minutes. (If using stone fruit, let them rest for 30-60 minutes)
With a hand held mixer or in a stand mixture, combine the Ricotta, heavy cream, and sugar. Beat until starting to thicken. Add the bourbon if using. Continue beating until it has become thickened.
Place one biscuit per person on a plate. Spoon some of the whipped Ricotta over the biscuit. Spoon some of the berries over everything. Top with chopped mint. Enjoy!