Aug 21, 2009

sour lemon pear scones

In my book good scones are something to be cherished. They are hearty yet full of flavor, and moist with a tender crumb. However, far to often when I purchase a scone I walk away with something dry and crumbly and sometimes tasting a bit like cardboard topped with sugar. Why is that?

After several such occasions I tried making them just to see what might happen (if you've read some of my recent posts you know I tend to do that). I must say that it took a bit of time, but was well worth the effort. I have yet to have a bad batch and I keep experimenting with different recipes and varieties of fruit, both fresh and dried. These scones were born last weekend when I was starring at a box of pears from my recent trip to the farm.

They are quite moist and have a subtle lemon flavor with yummy chunks of pear mixed in. They are a little messy to make, but the results are well worth extra clean up at the end. I've enjoyed these all week for breakfast with my tea by simply warming them up for a few minutes in oven.

sour lemon pear scones
adapted from Baked

4 cups all-purpose flour*
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and cold
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup grated lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
4 cups chopped pears (4-5 pears)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the pears into 1 inch cubes. Lay out all four cups onto a small baking sheet and place in the freezer to harden while preparing the scones.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Whisk until combined. Add the butter and using a pastry knife or two knives cut the butter into the flour until the butter is pea-sized.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, 3/4 cup of the buttermilk, and the lemon zest. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and then gently knead the dough with your hands until the dough starts to come together. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and add the frozen chopped pears. Mix briefly to combine and then quickly shape the dough into a disc (about 1.5 inches in height). Be careful to not overwork the dough.

Cut the disc into wedges based on the preferred size of your scone (keeping the sizes as uniform as possible so that they cook for about the same amount of time). Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush each scone with the remaining buttermilk and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes (rotating the baking sheet halfway through) or until the scones are golden brown.

Transfer the scones to a cooling rack; they can be served warm or once cooled. Store in an air-tight container. To re-heat, set the oven at 300 degrees F for a few minutes an then place the scone directly on the oven rack for about 5 minutes. The fresh "re" toasting is well worth the extra time to get that nice toasty flavor.

Makes approximately 14 - 16 medium size scones.

alison's notes:
*I used an organic all-purpose flour that I found in the bulk section at Berkeley Bowl last week. I was so excited to find an organic flour in bulk. The search continues for a local organic flour.

The dough for these scones is very wet, especially with the pears. I recommend working quickly when shaping, cutting, and placing them on the pan.

(photography by: alison clayshulte)


rachel said...

i love pear scones and was especially excited about this recipe once I saw how much butter is in there. you KNOW it's gonna be good.

Anonymous said...

Alison, my mouth actually watered when I saw these pictures. You are torturing me. Keep up the good work!! :o)

Alison said...

Rachel - I know the butters a lot in this recipe, but it does help make them really good!

Anonymous - Thanks so much, so happy you enjoy the pictures and recipes!