The Pungo Strawberry Festival is this weekend and to be perfectly honest, that tends to keep me farther away from Pungo than usual. No offense to anyone, it’s just that usually when I am in Pungo, I am on a bicycle and with the influx of people and traffic on this particular weekend, well those things aren’t a great combination.
I’m also going to admit I have never picked berries in Pungo. I’ll cite the reason above…whenever I am in Pungo I’m usually out for a bike ride, not so easy to stop and pick berries. I mean my bike jersey has pockets…anyway, maybe I should make a point to get out to one of the many farms and pick soon! I’m particularly intrigued by the yellow berries at New Earth Farm.
In the mean time I will keep walking over to Stoney’s Produce, grabbing a couple of pints and relishing in how awesome it is to have these berries so close by!
So it is in honor of the festival and Pungo berries in general that I whipped these up this morning.
I never like to add a lot of sugar or anything to fresh fruit. I think it dulls the brightness of it. But I did want my berries to have a hint of sauciness to them today. All I did was take about 6 of the extra ripe berries and process them with a TB of honey and a dash of vanilla. Then I pour that over the bowl of chopped berries. No fresh berry integrity lost and just a hint of ooze when poured over the warm biscuits.
A couple of notes about the biscuits.
If you haven’t ever baked with powdered buttermilk, it is time. If you bake gluten free on a regular basis, meet your new best friend! Gluten free flours tend to have trouble absorbing moisture, particularly fats, such as butter. I have no idea if buttermilk helps them to do this or what, but using buttermilk, wet or dry, has made a huge difference in the texture of nearly all of my gluten free baked goods.
Vanilla paste. This is much easier to find than it used to be. It is simply vanilla bean and a little sugar made into a paste. If you don’t have any or can’t find it, just use regular vanilla and/or vanilla and the seeds of a vanilla bean. I like the fleks of bean in the biscuits.
Obviously these can do double duty as a shortcake for dessert. In fact these remind me a lot of the homemade shortcakes my nana made when I was a kid!
Gluten Free Vanilla Biscuits
3 cups Gluten Free AP Flour (I use King Arthur)
2/3 cup sugar
5 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
3 heaping TB buttermilk powder
2 sticks cold butter cut into cubes
3/4 cup water
2 TB vanilla bean paste
Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a small bowl mix water, vanilla bean paste and egg together and set aside.
In a large bowl sift together all dry ingredients.
Add cold butter and mix with pastry cutter or your hands – hands really are best, but maybe that’s just because I don’t own a pastry cutter.
Add egg mixture and stir just until combined.
Fold dough onto floured board and pat out to 1 1/2 inches thick cut circles and place, sides touching, onto baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. When I remember I also turn the pan halfway through to get all of the biscuits evenly browned.