So I started out just over a year ago extolling the simple virtues of eggs, butter, flour and a little sugar - you remember Apple vs Pear – well today’s post is a further exploration on that topic.
Sadly, I’m not one to have fresh baked good sitting around on a cake stand ready for the nibbling - mostly because it wouldn’t last two seconds in this house – but also because I am, by nature, not a baker.
Unless you are a master baker, you cannot bake by “feel” the way you can throw together a last minute dinner. I am lost – not entirely unhappily so - when it comes to this confectionary side of the kitchen. The engineering of most desserts still remain a culinary mystery to me, but therein lays the magic of them. However, there are some things that one must reconcile, for example, when the love of something outweighs ones own limitations to make that thing appear. Fact: I love fresh baked scones – I love the salty sweetness of them and their crumbly nature. I love that you get to smear butter on something that is essentially made out of butter – but most of all I love how simple they are to make. Basically that is my lesson today, even I can make these…so you can too.
When searching for the perfect scone recipe to share, I went to my trusted source for all things delicious, Melissa Clark. Her Cornmeal Plum Scones and her genius way of "stuffing" them were a huge inspiration (credit given where it is due). I wanted to spice them up a little though and went a-rummaging through my panty. I came upon a little baggy with small dark seeds, not sure what they were, I popped one in my mouth and promptly thought of cinnamon buns - well Swedish Kanelbulle to be exact. What I had just tasted was a *cardamom seed - a major ingredient in Swedish baking..so obviously I was sold and ready to start.
[Note: Did you know that, "In Sweden, cardamom is very popular with most baked foods, where the per capita consumption is about 60 times greater than that in the US." (*Ed. P.N. Ravindran and K.J. Madhusoodanan, Cardamom, The Genus Ellataria. (London: Taylor & Francis, 2002), pg.276.)]
[Prep: 15mins / cook time: 25mins / TOTAL: 40mins] PRINT RECIPE
[Serving size: 8 scones]
Wash, peal, seed and chop your pears. Add them to a medium skillet over med-high heat and incorporate 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add cinnamon and ginger, mix well and cook pears for five minutes to soften them. Tranfer to a small mixing bowl. Pour honey and place bay leaf in the same skillet and set heat to medium. Simmer until honey is bubbling and starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add pear mixture to the honey and let sit for 5 minutes. Let cook for a few minutes more and stir often. Transfer compote to a small jar or bowl.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly flour the baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
In a small mixing bowl mix together the cream and egg.
In a large mixing bowl mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder salt, lemon zest and cardamom. Incorporate the cubed butter into flour mixture - pinch the pieces while mixing with your hands. The mixture will begin to look like coarse crumbs. Pour in 2/3rd’s of the cream and egg mixture and keep mixing with your hands to make a smooth dough. It will be a little sticky, but should not become wet. Save the left over cream and egg mix for brushing.
Gently form the dough into a ball and place on the floured or parchment lined baking sheet. Press down to make a 1 inch thick round about 9 inches across. Cut the dough into 8 even wedges and separate them a good distance apart – they will brown better this way. Press down with your thumb in the center of each wedge to create 1/2 inch deep indent. With a pastry brush, lightly spread the cream and egg mix over each section, then generously spoon the pear compote into each divot.
Transfer the baking sheet to oven and bake the scones until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve the lemon cardamom scones as is or with the remaining pear compote or butter. Enjoy! Perhaps with a cup of tea!
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