27 May 2014

Rhubarb Scones

I stood in the kitchen early Friday evening, worried about my lone rhubarb stalk and quarter quart of buttermilk bundled in the refrigerator as impending clouds of downpour inched over the neighborhood. I had my sneakers on, about to get some air. Now I was looking out the window, debating. It was sunny five minutes ago. Welcome to late May, I thought. And within the next few minutes, the solution to the wait-out, the buttermilk and the red stalk, surfaced almost by itself: freeze-ahead tender buttermilk scones with jammy pockets of sweet-tart rhubarb. Breakfast for tomorrow.

I loved everything about how these tender things baked up; I based the recipe on Nancy Silverton's Pastries From the La Brea Bakery's recipe for Strawberry buttermilk scones. And since I froze the dough, I especially loved that when I put them in the oven, there were no bowls to clean. In fact, I went back to bed for 20 minutes. If you opt to freeze and bake, you'll have to add a bit more time, 5-6 minutes, and you will appreciate the time on a Saturday morning. Put these in the oven, lay in bed a little more, take them out, and go grab an Americano while they cool. And with that, there are no dishes or french presses to clean. It's worth saying that we liked these so much and after confirming the freezing-ahead method had no impact on texture with this dough, I made more dough and froze it again two days later.

And I will probably do so again soon.

Rhubarb Scones
Makes 4

Ingredients: (Top photo)

Chop the rhubarb and toss it with the vanilla and a pinch of the sugar you'll be using (about 1/2 a tsp)

Combine flour, salt sugar, ginger, zest, baking powder and soda with a whisk well in a large bowl.

Cut in cold butter until it resembles coarse meal with pea size butter chunks; keep it cold, keep it solid.

Toss in the rhubarb mix, stir in gently.

Make a well in the center, add the buttermilk, working from the outside, stir with a spatula gently, to moisten the flour until moist clumps form. Dump the mixture onto a piece of parchment and with very lightly floured hands fold it onto itself one or two times, and pat into a 1 inch disk, do not overwork this. Slice into fourths and gently place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.**

Brush with buttermilk, sprinkle with Turbinado sugar and bake in a preheated 400 oven 25-30 mins until the tops and bottoms are nicely browned, and a skewer comes out clean. Let cool on the sheet on a rack 5-10 mins, then remove to cool on a rack alone.

**At this point you can freeze them on the sheet pan, loosely draped in plastic, until hard, an hour or two, and store in a freezer bag to bake the next day or days after. Add about 5 minutes to bake time.

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