Honeyed Nectarine and Plum Scones August 05 2018, 0 Comments
It has been about two months since the first good summer fruit hit the stands at our local farmers' market, which kickstarted my obsession with perfecting my ideal scone recipe. My interest in scones began while I was living in the UK, then peaked when I returned home to California to find their popularity had grown while I was away. Suddenly, scones were everywhere. American scones are very different from their British counterparts, but there are major reasons to love both. Their soft, crumbly texture and buttery, mildly sweet flavor make scones the perfect vehicle for summer fruit, spices, nuts, cheeses...just about anything you can dream up.
This recipe uses homemade jam as the filling, but you can easily substitute fresh fruit, cheese and caramelized onions or candied nuts. The possibilities are endless. These scones aren't traditionally British, but they aren't quite American either. They are my ideal combination of both styles with a few little twists.
This recipe makes twelve scones.
FOR THE JAM:
I cut and pitted 4 large nectarines and 4 red plums, put them in a small pot with about a 1/4 cup of golden cane sugar and a 1/4 cup of honey and reduced them for 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally and you'll end up with a super easy, ridiculously delicious stone fruit jam. I ended up with exactly two cups of jam and used it all in the gorgeous scones. Preparing and refrigerating your jam one or two days prior to making your scones will deepen the flavor result in a thicker consistency.
FOR THE SCONES:
DRY INGREDIENTS -
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar (I generally use golden cane sugar)
1 teaspoon good quality ginger powder (I always use Oaktown Spice Shop)
5 teaspoons baking powder (I know this seems like a lot)
1 teaspoon salt
Coarse sugar for sprinkling (Turbinado and Muscovado work well)
1 cup (two 113g sticks) very cold, good quality butter
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons good quality vanilla (I always use Oaktown Spice Shop)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup honey (I used Bee Seasonal's Marmeleiro, but feel free to use your favorite)
Preheat your oven to 400F (200C) and place two racks in the middle of your oven. Put your cup (two sticks) of butter in the freezer to get it very cold while you prepare your other ingredients. Prep two cookie sheets with parchment/baking paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together your flours, baking powder, sugar, salt and ginger until thoroughly combined and free from lumps.
In a medium bowl, whisk together your eggs, yogurt, cream, vanilla, honey and almond extract.
Remove your butter from the freezer, cut into small cubes and incorporate into your flour mixture using a pasty blender until the butter is the size of small peas and well distributed. Make a well in your flour mixture and pour in your wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden or silicone spoon until combined, make sure not to overwork, then place in the freezer to chill.
Prep your countertop with a large piece of floured parchment/baking paper. Take your jam from the fridge and give it a quick stir.
Remove your dough from the freezer and roll it out into a long rectangle, about a 1/2 inch thick. The dough can be a bit wet and difficult to work with, so make sure your rolling pin, hands and work surface are well floured.
Pour your jam into the middle of your rolled dough and spread evenly.
Lift your paper and fold your dough half way (see photo below) and then fold the other side of the dough over on itself into a cylinder.
At this point some of your jam will inevitably spill out, making your dough difficult to work worth. A bench scraper or spatula will come in handy for cutting the dough and scraping it off of your work surface. Remember to keep your hands and tools well floured.
Cut your cylinder into 12 scones and gently place them onto your baking sheet using your bench cutter or spatula. If you lose some jam along the way, scoop it up into your scones. This is a messy recipe, but well worth it.
Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake in the center of your preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown. I find scones are best eaten the day you bake them, but still lovely the next morning if well stored at room temperature.