I've always had a deep love for strawberries, the perfect bite sized fruit that tastes like summer and sweetness in every morsel. My parents had a small garden that we would tend to as I was a child. And that first year, we eagerly planted a row of strawberry plants, excited to harvest the fruits and enjoy them as a snack. At 8 years old, my knowledge of gardening was limited and so I impatiently waited every day for the fruits to arrive, running downstairs and into the yard to check on them each morning as I woke up.
Finally, the day had come when we thought they would be perfectly ripe for picking and ready to enjoy. I grabbed my mother's hand and a large bowl under my arm, pulling her behind me to the garden patch. As we approached, however, I stared into the far corner, my eyes searching for the small dots of red, not finding a single one. My mother sighed, knowing what I knew not yet. We walked closer right next to the plants and discovered small prints in the soil, and little bits of half eaten fruit remaining. Rabbits had gotten a hold of the strawberries before I could, and continued to devour our fruit for the remainder of the summer. In the battle of the rabbits versus our household, we quickly called defeat in protecting our strawberries and realized it was wise to grow another plant in its place the following year.
However, years later, my love of strawberries remained and though I could not grow them in my own yard, I became obsessed with tossing them on to every dessert possible. From cupcakes to biscuits to compote, my friends and family tasted every iteration of strawberries I concocted. Their favorite that became an oft requested dish at brunches and as a dessert was not surprisingly the one most similar in notes, textures, and taste to other Afghan baked goods. These biscuits echo other Afghan baked goods that similarly have a bread like base with a hint of sweetness throughout. They are sweet without being overpoweringly sugary, and resemble a popular Afghan shortbread, kolchay shor, in the flaky texture. The combination of the buttery flaky texture with the hint of sweetness topped with the richness of the cream encapsulates so many delicious staple Afghan indulgences that it's no wonder this dish has become an honorary semi-fusion dish on my table. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family has, noshejaan!
Strawberries and Cream Biscuit Recipe
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 1/4 cup chopped ripe strawberries
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease it
In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together.
Add butter. I use a grater to get small chunks of butter, but it can also be chopped by a knife into small chunks approximately the size of a pea. Coat the butter chunks with the dry flour mixture.
Add strawberries and coat them in the dry flour mixture.
Once strawberries are fully coated, add in heavy cream.
Using a rubber spatula, gently lift and mix the ingredients into each other until it is mostly mixed. Then go knead it once or twice in the bowl to create one mass. Be careful to not overwork the dough.
Flour your countertop and transfer the dough to the counter. Flour the top of it and with your hands or a rolling pin, gently roll or press the dough out to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2 1/2-inch circles with a floured biscuit cutter or top edge of a drinking glass, pressing straight down and not twisting (this makes for nice layered edges) as you cut.
Gently transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheet, leaving a couple inches between each.
You can re-roll the remaining scraps of dough. The dough may have become more wet as the juices or the strawberries have settled so it may be a wetter consistency, they will still bake well.
Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes, until browned at the edges and the strawberry juices are trickling out of the biscuits in places. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Alternate option: Biscuits are often best the day they are baked. However, the dough can be made ahead of time and frozen either into a rolled elongated shape or pre-cut onto a baking sheet and frozen. The biscuits do not need to defrost, they can be placed directly into the oven and may need 2 to 3 minutes additional in the oven.