My love of scones is no secret. Come to think of it, I’m not exactly sure where my obsession passion for scones came from. The me of several years ago was adamantly anti-scone. “They’re so dry. Tastes like flour!” Clearly I had a bad run-in. I’m thinking a certain chain coffeehouse that shall remain nameless… right? Nevertheless, somewhere along the way I saw the light. And it shone bright.
About a week and a half ago I stumbled upon these little beauties. Personally I adore scones that are lighter than air, not too sweet, and more delicate and crumbly than moist and cakey. Molly’s description of her sister’s version had me sold [and drooling a bit]. The original recipe calls for currants and fennel seeds, which I intend to try with the next batch. This time around I chose a favorite combination of mine: apricot and pistachio. Oh yes. To boot, the recipe uses entirely cream – no butter, no eggs. Not that I have anything whatsoever against either of those ingredients, but in my opinion, cream scones are the real deal. [My inner haggis-loving, heather-picking Scottish lass is dancing on the brae. Coincidence with my name? ...]
Let me lay some oft-referenced ideas to rest: 1. “Scones are ‘bloody awful’.” [This seemed to be the phrase of choice in my Internet seach.] If you fall into this camp, you have been wronged. Make this recipe, eat, change your mind. 2. “Scones are fussy. Only rich, snobby old English women eat scones.” Sure scones are served at the English Devonshire tea, spread with jam or lemon curd, then topped with a dollop of clotted cream. Original scones, however, consisted of oats, buttermilk and a leavener, cooked on a stone griddle – a true food of the people. Tell me - how is this snobby? Maybe it’s the clotted cream that’s throwing these people off?? 3. “My scones always turn out poorly.” If you choose to over-knead, improperly futz with the ratio of ingredients, or walk away from the oven to go watch a reality show, allowing them to over-bake and possibly even burn [tsk tsk]*, then yes, they will not turn out well. I promise you, the recipe below is simple. It is short and sweet. It is not fussy.
If you are anti-scone, as I sadly once was, please give this recipe a whirl. I beg of you. For the believer, don’t you pass this up either. Devastatingly lovely and melt-in-your-mouth scones are headed your way. Studded with jewel-toned apricots and pistachios no less.
Apricot pistachio cream scones [makes 8** large scones]
While heavenly with a slather of creamy butter, these scones are perfect as a solo act. In fact, if you made these for a get-together, I am positive they would be the belle of the ball.
1/2 c dried apricots, coarsely chopped1/4 c pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 ¾ c unbleached all-purpose flour
6 T granulated sugar (I prefer a little less sweet, so I only used 5T)
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 ¼ c heavy cream, plus 1/2 to 1 T for glazing
Preheat oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.
Rehydrate the chopped apricots by placing in a small bowl and covering with warm water. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients to combine. Add the drained apricots and chopped pistachios, stirring briefly to distribute these throughout the dry mixture.
Pour the first 1 ¼ c cream into a medium bowl. With a hand mixer or a whisk and brute strength, beat the cream to the point of small, soft peaks. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold half of the whipped cream into the dry mixture. Repeat with the remaining cream until dough just comes together. Turn out the dough - and those dry, floury bits at the bottom of the bowl – onto a countertop [or table, if you have no counters like me] and knead with well-floured hands just until it comes together. [Recall my plea from above: do not over-knead. Please!] Re-flour hands and press the dough into a large, thick round, ¾ to 1″ thick, depending on preference. [The original recipe calls for cutting this first disk in half, making 2 smaller rounds and then proceeding from there; as I halved the recipe, I skipped this step.] Perfection need not apply here - scones started out as rustic cakes, after all. Cut the disk into 8 triangles.
Gently transfer the scones onto the prepared baking sheet, and brush the tops lightly with the reserved cream. Bake for 20-25 minutes [mine took about 25] in the middle of the oven, rotating the pan halfway through, until pale golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Best warm from the oven, although no less wonderful reheated in a warm oven the next day or even after spending a brief [one to two weeks, max] stint in the freezer.
Adapted from these via Orangette.
*No, I am not claiming to be perfect. I have overbaked and burned plenty of things – probably more than I’d like to admit.
**To accommodate my wee little oven and baking pans, I halved the recipe. However instead of 6 scones, I got 8 quite large ones.
And because I can… the best scone reference…