Pascale’s Kitchen: Scone stories

Scones are a unique among baked goods.

 (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Everyone seems to love freshly baked goods, whether sweet or savory. No matter which type of dough you’ve used, pastries always smell divine. Salty and spicy pastries tell one story, and sweet cakes tell us another, especially if they’re made creatively and with lots of love.

Scones are a unique among baked goods. They’re not cakes or cookies, but neither are they biscuits or rolls. Scones, which originate in Scotland, can be made in either sweet or savory versions. You can use any type of flour – wheat, barley or oats – and some recipes include both baking soda and baking powder as leavening agents. They’re easy and quick to prepare, and you can add almost any type of seeds or fruits to the dough.
What’s special about scones is how easy and quick they are to prepare. You only need one bowl, a spoon and one hand for mixing, and the dough only needs to rest for 5-10 minutes. You can use an electric mixer if you’re preparing a large quantity, but it’s really not necessary. Kneading by hand is just as good.
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In the UK, scones are usually made as small circles, or like triangular pizza slices cut from a big circle. In the US, scones are often made much larger and rectangular shaped, and they are a bit drier and flakier.
Scones can be eaten with cheese, figs, berries, currants, raisins, cranberries, nuts or chocolate chips and seasoned with cinnamon, poppy seeds or herbs, such as basil, za’atar, rosemary, thyme or vegetables, such as olives or dried tomatoes.

Scones are traditionally served with butter and jam. They are so tasty, sometimes they get plucked off the tray as they are being taken out of the oven.

Below you will find four recipes. The first is a recipe for classic scones, which can be served with pomegranate jam (the second recipe). The third recipe is for cheese scones with olives and chives, which is an amazing breakfast food. The last recipe is for scones with berries and ruby chocolate drizzled on top, perfect for eating any time of the day.


CLASSIC SCONES
Makes 16-20 scones.

3 cups flour, sifted
¾ cup sugar
1½ packets baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
120 gr. cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sweet cream
¼ cup milk or buttermilk
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup raisins

Topping:
2 Tbsp. sweet cream
2 Tbsp. sugar, golden or brown

Serving suggestion:
Strawberry, plum or pomegranate jam
Whipped cream (can add powdered sugar to sweeten if desired)

Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed until mixed well. Add the butter gradually and mix slowly until dough is crumbly.

Add the beaten egg, sweet cream, milk and cinnamon. Mix well. Fold in the raisins. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes in the fridge.

Flour your work surface. Knead the dough in the bowl for a few seconds and then transfer it to your work surface. Put some flour on your hands and then roll out the dough until it’s 2-cm. thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out circles or any other shape. Line a tray with baking paper and arrange dough circles with plenty of space between them.

Brush with sweet cream and then sprinkle sugar on top. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 190°-200° C for 15-20 minutes until the scones have risen nicely and turned golden brown. Let cool and then serve with whipped cream and jam.

Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 20 minutes
Status: Dairy.


POMEGRANATE JAM
Makes 1 liter.

1½ kg. pomegranate seeds
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ lemon, sliced thinly
½ tsp. quality vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped almonds
1 cup sesame seeds

Rinse and dry the pomegranate seeds.

Add the sugar and water to a large pot.

Mix and bring to a boil over a medium flame.

Add the pomegranate seeds, lemon juice and lemon slices and mix. Cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add the almonds and sesame seeds.

Continue cooking for an hour, stirring every once in a while, until jam thickens. Jam will still be watery when you turn the flame off. It will thicken as it cools.

Let it cool completely and then transfer to one large jar or a few small jars. Close tops well and store in a cool place. Once you open the jar for the first time, store it in the fridge.

Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 75 minutes
Status: Pareve.


CHEESE SCONES WITH OLIVES AND CHIVES
Makes 25-30 scones.

2½ cups flour, sifted
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. chives (or any herb you like), chopped finely
70-80 gr. butter, cubed
70 gr. natural yogurt
150 gr. Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg or 1 yolk
1 packet of baking soda
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
½ cup pitted and halved olives

Egg wash:
1 egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp. buttermilk

Serving suggestion:
Sour cream mixed with herbs

Add the flour, sugar and salt to a large bowl. Mix and then add the chives. Add the butter, yogurt, Pecorino Romano cheese, egg, baking soda, parsley and olives. Mix well, but do not overwork the dough. Place the dough in the fridge for 5-10 minutes.

Line a tray with baking paper.

Knead the dough and then flatten to a thickness of 2-3 cm. Cut out circles with a diameter of 3-4 cm. Place the circles on the baking tray and brush them with egg wash. Bake them in an oven that has been preheated to 200-210° C for 15-17 minutes. Serve hot with sour cream mixed with herbs.

Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 20 minutes
Status: Dairy.


SCONES WITH BERRIES
Makes 12-15 scones.

2 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
100 gr. cold butter cubes
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
1 egg
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup natural yogurt or buttermilk
100 gr. berries, frozen or fresh
2 Tbsp. chopped nuts

Egg wash:
1 egg, beaten

Toppings:
¾ cup walnuts, chopped finely
½ cup ruby chocolate

Serving suggestion:
Jam, sour cream or whipped cream

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl. Mix and then add the butter, sugar and vanilla sugar. Knead the butter by hand into the mixture until crumbly. Alternatively, you can mix the dough in an electric mixer using short pulses.

Add the egg, sour cream or buttermilk and mix gently. Add the berries and nuts and mix until dough falls away from the sides of the bowl. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes in the fridge.


Knead the dough gently and then transfer it to a floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it’s 2-3 cm. thick and cut it into triangles, like pizza slices. Arrange the triangles on a tray that’s covered with baking paper.

Brush the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle chopped nuts on the corners. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 200° C for 13-15 minutes or until they’ve slightly browned.

Let cool. Melt chocolate in microwave a few seconds at a time. Pour into a plastic bag and then snip off the corner and squeeze chocolate stripes onto the scones. Serve with jam and sour cream.


Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 20 minutes
Status: Dairy.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.