I sent off my cookbook draft on Wednesday and that gusting sigh you heard as I boarded my 6 a.m. (!) flight in Rochester was, yes, me. I’m done! Well, done with the bulk of it anyway — there will still be copy edits (which, yes, will come in just around the time we go to Morocco … welcome to my life) to do and a slew of other things but the hardest part, the real-deal getting the bones down and getting it into some sort of decent shape is finished. I will try to relax for the next 6 weeks or so. In between the packing-up, that is.
And in the meantime I’ve returned to baking with regular flour again, and it’s a bit of a relief. I salute all the gluten-free bakers out there who bake this way exclusively; I have enjoyed my foray into the world of flourless desserts but it is lovely to be able to use my old familiar flour-full recipes again (especially now that my brain is slightly weary from attempting conversions and balancing ground almonds against the proper amount of egg whites and so forth). I had been wanting to make scones for quite awhile and promised myself that when the end was drawing near I’d indulge myself again. So, on a Friday afternoon before a stolen few days out of town, I did.
A few weeks ago I stopped into Whole Foods after my morning yoga class and made a beeline for the rhubarb stalks in the produce section. This has become a little ritual of mine, especially in the waning days of the cookbook — to go to a 9 a.m. class and then do a bit of a shop if necessary, with a small coffee and a sweet treat picked up on my way out. I then walk home through the Panhandle, trying not to gulp my coffee so I can save it until I reach Alamo Square Park where I will sit in the sun and savor it while watching the happy dogs. The weather in San Francisco this month has been nothing short of stunning, and these sunny weekday mornings punctuated with coffee and a vegan donut (or a non-vegan pastry) have been a balm in an otherwise semi-hectic time.
Anyway, I managed to focus on the rhubarb long enough to select three ribs before greedily continuing on my way with my post-yoga rewards. I had strawberries at home and knew I wanted to revisit my old beloved pairing of strawberry-rhubarb that featured so heavily in last spring’s jam-making endeavors. I haven’t yet had time to make jam this year – now that the book’s been handed off I will indulge – but I so love that combination. Rather than make a pie (too early yet for pie) or a batch of muffins, I decided to make strawberry-rhubarb scones.
What is it about scones that makes them so very lovely? I will eat them for lunch, morning snack, afternoon tea — and any hour in between (not at night, though; scones are more a daytime treat). This recipe calls for lots of buttermilk and butter, and I used whole wheat pastry flour to give them a touch of heartiness as well as better nutritional content. Thus the scones are perhaps not as light as others but they are no less good for it. The classic strawberry-rhubarb combination makes these beauties extra special.
I’ve been traveling this week and out of my kitchen, but I’ve managed to log a few batches of chocolate chip cookies (in upstate New York and North Carolina, respectively) as well as cooked a few dinners (a big vegetable pasta feed and a huge bowl of quinoa and vegetables and fried tofu) and am seriously contemplating making another round of these scones (plus a pot of minestrone soup) to leave with them. New parents definitely need delicious goodies, and these more than fit the bill.
Back in San Francisco in a few days to deal with the next phase of life, which involves deciding what to bring to Morocco and what not to bring; a little furniture shopping; a little gathering of paperwork; a lot of other things too boring to mention. Hoping to be posting regularly but I think next week I may take off to just … rest in the feeling of being done. A mini break of sorts. I’m sure you understand. But for now: scones.
The gorgeous tidbit concerning these scones is that they make your entire kitchen smell of summer and slow, lazy mornings with sun streaming through your windows with the whole day laid bare ahead for dreaming. And that feeling lingers long after the last crumb has been devoured. Eat warm with good butter and a thick smear of jam.
3 stalks rhubarb, washed and sliced into 1/4 inch ribs, then cut the ribs in half
10+ strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar + more for sprinkling on top
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup cold buttermilk + 3 tablespoons butter for brushing on top of scones before baking
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the rhubarb and strawberries in a medium bowl and drizzle with the honey. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, 1/4 cup sugarbaking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in butter with a fork, and, using the fork and your fingers, whisk and cut in the butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
In another bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Add to flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft dough. Fold in the
Turn out onto a floured board and knead about 15 times. Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thickness.
Cut into 2-inch rounds using a round cutter or cut into 2×2-inch squares (I used a small jam jar, which resulted in 16 scones). Reshape and roll dough
to create more scones with excess scraps. Place on the baking sheet. Brush lightly with the 3 tablespoons buttermilk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Place in ove and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown
on top. Serve warm.