Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Apple and Blue Cheese Scones



On The Cooking Channel I watch a Portland baker work scone magic with fresh apricots and Stilton. Drooling over the episode, I am inspired to recreate those confections. As I gather baking ingredients I arrive at the first stumbling block....fresh apricots. The second is Stilton. My capacious pantry has neither! Am I stumped? No, for I am the queen of substitutions. An apple from the fruit basket will suffice. And the deep recesses of the fridge yields a cave aged blue cheese. As always, I am game for experimentation.

Can I tell you what irks me about directions in baking recipes? When the instruction is to preheat your oven. I know I know...this is a prerequisite in most recipes, but by the time you gather stuff, sift, measure, sift again, work the eggs, work the butter, an age has passed. I find the oven going for a good half hour before I actually get to the part of the recipe that involves baking. What can I say?? It's a pet peeve. So when I pen a recipe, preheating the oven is about ten minutes prior to baking. Unless you live in a cabin in the Tundra, you should be fine with the above timing. 

The dough comes together fast in a processor. You could easily work the butter and flour with your fingers. The buttermilk and egg mix binds the dough in a sticky ball. Blue cheese and apples are gently stirred in. The sticky dough goes into a pan lined with Saran Wrap, and then into the freezer for a half hour. This makes it easier to cut. Unmolded and cut into small squares, scones are baked in a hot oven to a perfect brown.


APPLE AND BLUE CHEESE SCONES
Makes 16 squares


1 Apple 
1/2 cup Blue Cheese crumbles
2 cups Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Butter
1 Egg
1 cup Buttermilk
3 teaspoons Sugar


Peel and cut apples into small pieces.




Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times.

Cut butter into small pieces. Add to flour and pulse till mix resembles peas. 







ALTERNATELY... Add dry ingredients to a bowl and add butter pieces. Use the tips of your fingers to rub butter into flour till mix resembles peas.

Beat egg lightly and add buttermilk. Whisk to mix.



Add egg mix to flour and pulse 4-6 times to mix.  If you are working the dough by hand, use a fork to gather the dough into a ball. The dough will be sticky and gooey. Scrape the dough into a bowl. 

Gently mix in apple and cheese. 




Line a 6 x 6 pan with plastic wrap. ( I did not, but it would be a good idea to do so...see notes below )

Pat the dough into pan. Freeze for a half hour till firm.



Heat oven to 400F.

Invert the dough onto a wooden board. Remove wrap and slice dough into 2 inch squares. You will have 16.




Place squares on a parchment or silicone sheet lined baking sheet.




Sprinkle tops with sugar. 

Place sheet in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Bake for 22-25 minutes  till golden brown.




Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. 




Eat them warm or at room temperature. 




NOTES

The dough is very sticky and gooey. Resting in the freezer makes it easier to cut squares. Do line the pan with plastic wrap as it makes it easy to remove the dough from the pan. I did not. I also let the dough sit for 3 hours in the freezer. Before I unmolded it, I let the dough come to room temperature for 15 minutes. 

If you want to skip the freezing part, drop a mounded tablespoon of dough on to a lined baking sheet, using up all the dough. You should have 16-18 scones. Let the dropped scones sit in the fridge for 15 minutes. Bake at 400F for 22-25 minutes. 




A tray of scones cools on the counter top. They have turned a pleasing cheddar cheese brown. Delightful aromas waft through the house.  I break a square, inhale the apple and cheese, take a bite of this soft buttery scone....hmmmm....I fear these squares will soon turn me into a well rounded soul!