Here where I live in Northern Italy, most berries are grown locally and arrive at 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 gone 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 colourful, 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 yoghurt 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 favourite balance between flavours, I can find my equilibrium. Needless to say, I like the touches and splashes of colour 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 yoghurt and muesli, or just au naturel, eating them from my fingertips 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.
Raspberry Ricotta Scones
125 g / 1 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat flour)
135 g/ 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
75 g / 1/3 cup light brown sugar (muscovado)
1/2 tsp salt
55 g / 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
300 g / 1 1/4 cup fresh raspberries
150 g / 3/4 cup fresh ricotta
80 ml/ 1/3 cup kefir (or full fat, plain yoghurt)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, sugar and baking powder. Crumble the butter into the flour using your fingertips until fully incorporated. Add the raspberries and fold through.
In a small bowl, combine ricotta and kefir, then add these to the rest of the ingredients. Dust your hands with flour and transfer the dough onto a floured working surface. Pat down the dough until you get a 2 cm thick round. Cut the dough into 8-9 wedges, then transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until springy and golden brown on top and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack before eating.