April 11, 2021

A la Carte: Lee Shares a New, Fun, Easy and ‘Craggy’ Recipe for Scones

Lee White

It was a bit of a sad holiday season. I shared Thanksgiving with my neighbors. They are the only people who have been invited into my condo during the pandemic, other than my daughter, the physical therapist, visiting nurses or a few minutes from friends. I lit the candles on my menorah each of the holiday’s eight days and Sue and Bob and I decided not to spend Christmas dinner together. 

I didn’t do a lot of cookie baking either. In the early part of December, I did stews and pasta sauces (marinara, pink vodka and a marathon of Bolognese). I actually do the last in a cauldron the size of a pot cannibals might choose. But the Bolognese is now down to one 3-quart plastic container in the freezer (I share it) and I am planning to drive to see my daughter-in-law and three of my granddaughters tomorrow. (They get rapid results with their covid tests and I have been negative every week or so since April.)

So right now another batch of Bolognese is cooking downstairs: onions, garlic and carrots along with the pork and beef are in a bottle of pinot gris. In 30 minutes, it will have somewhat evaporated, the milk will be added, then about 200 ounces of tomatoes and the tomato paste will simmer for two or so hours.  

I have, however, been doing some baking. I found a new recipe for scones which was a bit more fun than the recipe I had been using for decades. With this new one, I use my hands to work the butter into the flour mixture, drill a well into the dough and add heavy cream. I mix this batter with my hands, too.

The author says she likes the “cragging” of the scones instead of rolling the dough and using a biscuit cutter to make them all look neat. I like that look. I have made this recipe three times: once with chopped pecans, once with marzipan and once with tiny cinnamon chips.  This is fun and easy, and scones can be frozen, too.

You can’t beat a warm scone with butter and/or jam at any time of the day! Photo by Craig Bradford on Unsplash.

 Any-Fruit or –Nut Scones

Adapted from The Fearless Baker by Erin Jeanne McDowell (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston New York, 2017)

Yield: makes about 18 scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoons fine sea salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into ½ inch cubes
2 to 2 ½ cups fruit and/or nuts
1 cup heavy cream
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water and small pinch of salt
Sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degree with racks in the upper and lower two thirds. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment or Silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Add butter and toss to cubes with flour; cut butter into flour mixture by rubbing them between forefingers and thumbs until the size of peas or walnut halves. Add fruit and/or nuts and toss gently to combine.

Make a well in the middle and pour in cream. Toss mixture with fingers to combine; then knead gently to ensure everything is evenly moistened.

Scoop ¼-inches of dough onto prepared sheet pans. I used my hands to do this, leaving 1 1/2 –inches apart. Brush top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake scones, switching the sheets from front to back and top to bottom at the halfway mark, for 20 to 22 minutes, until tops and edges are golden brown. Scones can be served warm or at room temperature. They may also be microwaved for 10 to 15 seconds.

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day. She was a resident of Old Lyme for many years but now lives in Groton, Conn.

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