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Osprey, Mono Lake © Robert Sommers 2023

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Robert's peach, walnut and ginger scones


Sue Calvin, a great cook, asked me for my peach ginger walnut scone recipe. As a beginning baker, I'm flattered, honestly. Pretty simple but good. It is my own invention. 

I was at the market yesterday and peaches are still available but they won't be for long and they aren't exactly cheap. If you have a friend with a tree it is even better.

It is mostly out of my head but here it is:

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder (my wife wants me to use aluminum free baking powder but I used what I had on hand. Next time.)

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter frozen

½ cup heavy cream or half and half, cold

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh peaches pitted and diced (you can leave the skins on but I don't. If they are frozen, thaw them, put them in a strainer and lose all the liquid you can because the juice makes for a runny dough. Which is still okay but they won't be beautiful. Just delicious)

½ cup dried candied ginger

½ cup diced walnuts

 a packet of turbinado sugar

To prepare

Preheat the oven to 400°. 

Place the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and whisk together evenly. Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter into the mixture. Any scone maker will tell you that this is the most tedious part of the journey. Mix it in but don't overwork because any heat will warm up the butter and it needs to stay as cold as possible. The water in the frozen butter becomes steam and gives your scones a "lift" in the oven. Add the walnuts, ginger and peaches and mix together gently.

In a medium mixing bowl add cream, egg and vanilla extract. Try to use a high quality vanilla. Leslie gets it at Sprouts for about eleven dollars, much more expensive in Fallbrook. Whisk together and pour into the larger bowl and mix everything with a wooden spoon so that all the flour is integrated into the batter well. You can use your hand if you are more comfortable. Wash your hands, of course.

Plop it on a lightly floured surface and make a big round ball.

Smush the ball. You can roll it with a pin lightly if you want. You will end up with about a one inch thick disc.

Put parchment paper down on a baking sheet or pizza stone. Ron and Lena think the stone makes for a better bottom crust. Honestly, I don't see much of a difference. I use a pan, it is easier for me. This last batch I used a drinking glass to cut them out of the dough but they are still imperfect and the glass gets gummy pretty quick. You can make them anyway you want, pie shaped or round, they both taste great! 

I did notice that the high sided pan I used for overflow tended to burn them with the radiant heat, stick to a flat sheet!

I got twelve scones last night on the sheet, I get eight with the round, pie method.

Sometimes I will crack another egg, whisk it and use a pastry brush to give the tops of the scones a wash. I have also done it with heavy cream, does the same thing. Then sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar.

Put them in the oven for about 24 to 28 minutes, until they get the golden color you prefer. My oven is hotter than some people's. 

Pull them out and put them on a rack for 5 or 10 minutes or as long as you can stand to wait.

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I have made these in several different ways, in some cases adding a pepper and cardoman spice mix like this recipe and forgoing it in others. 

It's all good, whatever you are feeling that day. 

I actually have been laying off the spices lately and letting the raw ingredients do the work. 

They are all you really need. 

The ginger gives it a tangy bite. Don't dice the ginger too small, it is nice to get a big chunk in your mouth. 

I have been using slightly less than 1/2 cup of sugar as well, don't think it needs to be that sweet.

We found an amazing Italian butter at Grocery Outlet, Ferrarini.  I think it was a one time deal. A large pat on a warm peach walnut ginger scone is heaven. The only problem with these scones is that they disappear so quickly.

Let me know how they come out.

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By the way, this is not the first recipe I have published. The first one actually came out when I was six months old. Truth. In the Western Cook Book, 1957. It was only open for submissions from men and my mother stuck my name on one of her recipes and got in the book. Don't know what happened to it, maybe my sister has it?  Obviously, I will take no credit. Call me precocious.

1 comment:

Lena said...

Putting the dough in the freezer while the oven pre heats gets it cold enough to be able to cut it into wedges ( or rounds) without the sticky mess.