04 July 2015

Chocolate, spelt and mascarpone scones


Mascarpone to me is one of those small wonder ingredients like creme fraiche or a good ricotta, that can seem to pop out of nowhere and steal the show, whether it be from behind the scenes or plain and loudly schmeared into pure white creaminess atop something that demands its contrasting presence. The Italian cream cheese known for its tiramisu attribution, had found a suitable place as an as-close-to English clotted cream we can get, alongside jam for scone topping in my kitchen. But what happened, I wondered, if the cheese went into the dough itself? 



I set to find out using a recipe from the Tiny Buffalo baking company, using figs, mascarpone, a little maple syrup and the usual suspects of scones: butter, flour, cream, as well as a glaze made from concentrated fig preserves. Even when I went the fig route, I skipped the glaze, and they turned out great: lightly sweet, with a little extra something from the cheese. Then I fiddled with swapping in alternate flours, and half + half for cream. I varied the spices, I tried them as cut scones rather than dropped.





They've thus had many iterations over the past month or two in my kitchen. There was the cornmeal-fig version, the oat-flour-fig version, and finally the dark chocolate-spelt one. Two items I nearly always seem to stock. I snuck in some cinnamon and espresso, too, and I'm sticking with it, because no one will ever turn down dark chocolate and whole grains in the morning alongside a strong cup of coffee.



And if you do have extra mascarpone and raspberry jam on hand, a schmear of each is most deserved. They do say, it's all about the details, don't they?



CHOCOLATE, SPELT + MASCARPONE SCONES


55 grams/4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
125 grams/1 cup all-purpose flour
45 grams/ 1/4 c + 2 Tbsp spelt flour
25 grams/ 2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoons salt
1/4 tsp ground espresso 
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3-4 Tbsp chopped dark chocolate
30 grams/2 Tbsp half + half
1 large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
22 grams/ 1 1/2 Tbsp mascarpone

18 grams/ 1 Tbsp maple syrup

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, maple, mascarpone, vanilla and half + half. Set in the fridge

In a large bowl, whisk: flours, baking powder, salt, sugar, spices. Pinch in butter in a snapping motion with your fingers until a coarse meal is formed with some pea sized lumps. Work quick. Stir in chocolate. 

Make a well in center and pour in egg mixture. With a spatula, gently fold to toss and moisten.

Once a mass is created with some dry and shaggy bits, dump out onto a lightly floured bench and bring together into a mound. Pat out then fold it over itself once or twice, creating a rectangle about 6 x 4. Cut in half vertically, then horizontally, then again twice horizontally to make 8 equal, small scones. 

Set on a parchment lined sheet and stick in the freezer while you preheat your oven to 400 F. * You may flash freeze then bag to bake later at this point.

Brush scones, when ready to bake, with half and half, and a generous sprinkle turbaned sugar.

If baking from frozen, bake for about 25-30 minutes, rotating sheet pan halfway through, if not, they will be ready sooner, more like 20. Keep an eye. Cool on sheet pan on a wire rack few minutes, then transfer parchment to wire rack to cool at least 10 minutes more. 


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