08 June 2008

Sunday Baking - Orange-Rhubarb Scones

En français ici.
FINALLY! I've gotten the oven officially up and working and baptized with its first Sunday Baking ;-)

Everyone's been blogging about rhubarb from Camille's Trendy Rhubarb-Apricot Crumble, to David Lebovitz' Red Wine Poached Rhubarb, to Rosa's serious Rhubarb Addiction. And I've been itching to make some rhubarb recipes of my own (D's favorite is strawberry rhubarb pie, classic in the US, but not well-known here - so I'm sure I'll be making some of that with the rest of my rhubarb).

I've also been meaning to try a recipe for Orange Cream Scones that my friend Jessica cut out of a magazine and mailed to me (a letter I was VERY happy to get!), so I thought, why not combine the two? I have to admit, I had never made scones before and I was a little nervous. Would they be crumbly enough? Would I be able to cut the butter in without any of the "correct" tools? And where would I find clotted cream in Paris? (I'm still open to any suggestions on that last one...)

In the end, I used a combination of two knives, some strange looking attachment on my French hand-held mixer that had (as explanation of its uses) a picture of a loaf of bread, a tart and a cake, and my fingers doing their best crumbling action. That seemed to work out ok, but it was a bit time consuming. The recipe says to use a pastry blender, so if you have one of those, you're in luck!

Orange-Rhubarb Scones

3 stalks rhubarb, washed and cut into small pieces (not peeled)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 Tbsp orange zest (that's grated orange peel for those not privy to the secret baking vocabulary)
2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

First you have to make what we could elegantly describe as the "Rhubarb Mush". I've set the three ingredients off from the rest up top; in a frying pan, combine the rhubarb, 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 2 Tbsp sugar. Cook on low heat until the rhubarb becomes mushy (that's also secret baking vocabulary, very technical, just trust me), about 15-20 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

I had some leftover rhubarb mush, which I stuck in the fridge and later spooned over the scones for extra rhubarb-i-ness (I'm on a vocab roll today)!

For the scones: Preheat the oven to 375F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender (or whatever you can get your hands on), cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Add orange zest and mix well.

In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup cream and vanilla extract (the original recipe uses orange extract. I didn't have any, but if that inspires you, go ahead and substitute it back in). Add cream mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until dry ingredients are just moistened.

Here, the recipe tells you to roll dough to 1/2 thickness and using a 2 1/4-inch round cutter, cut scones. Yikes! What if you don't have a 2 1/4-inch round cutter? What if (God-forbid!), you don't have any cutter at all??

Ok, take a deep breath and then go ahead and put your (washed) fingers in the dough. Take out a chunk and flatten it to about 1/4 inch thickness. Spoon some rhubarb mush in the center, fold it over and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Brush the scones with the remaining cream and sprinkle with remaining sugar (I forgot the sugar, but I'm sure it's a yummy touch. You might even try cinnamon sugar if you like cinnamon).

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

I made some plain scones as well just to have some variety:

Maybe not as pretty as if I had a 2 1/4-inch cutter, but yummy just the same.


Cicero Sings said...

Hi Hopie,

Instead of clotted cream ... we use creme fraiche ... make our own out of 1 cup thick cream with 2 Tbsps buttermilk ... put in glass jar ... shake ... leave on top of fridge for 24 hours (a warm place) .. it is ready to go. Refrigerate it after that. I think it tastes as good if not better.

If you don't have a cookie cutter you can use a glass but what I do for scones, depending on the batch size I will pat the ball of dough into a circle (2 circles if a large batch) top with an egg wash and maybe a coarse sugar and cinnamon, then cut into wedges like pie. Pop on my cookie sheet and into the oven. Easy peesy and looks good too. No mucking about with extra dough bits!!! Okay, I'm lazy.

Hopie said...

Hi Cicero Sings!

Thanks for your good advice. Creme fraiche is very easy to find in France (I probably have some in the fridge) so I'll have to give that a try. I'd heard of using a glass to cut circles, but I like the sound of your "lazy" method. I'm sure scone wedges are lovely!

Katie said...

those scones sound yummy BUT if i recall correctly, they are not your only ever scone venture... when we went to atlantic, we (and by "we" i mean "you made, i think i chopped some nuts") made scones. there were pecans in them. they were yummy.

and now you have forgotten them. we didn't have a cutter then either - i think you rolled them out and cut them into triangles.

Hopie said...

Katie - OH MY GOODNESS! I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THOSE! But yes, that rings a bell - with pecans and we cut them in triangles, yes. Oy geez, I thought I was too young to start losing my memory.

Wait, so what did I do about cutting butter into the flour??

Unknown said...

Well, I always just use my fingers to cut butter in (since I don't have a pastry cutter). Plus, I'm not sure all scone recipes require cutting in the butter.

Hopie said...

Amy - Hm, maybe not. In any case, fingers seemed to work fine :-)

Jessica Sarlandie said...

Ouais! Very happy to see that you could use the recipe, hope it turned out! And nice profile picture, is that one you had taken the day I arrived in Paris? All I have to say is, hotness!

Daphne said...

What fun to find your blog! I wish I could read French. However, I can sympathize with your adventures of 'overseas' baking... I spent a year in Finland and this was before the Internet so I had many adventures translating my single cookbook I brought with me into metric, plus trying to find the ingredients in a language that was completely baffling to me. I had a particularly spectacular failure attempting chocolate chip cookies. We still ate them. Brownies also proved to be very difficult. I'll enjoy reading your blog!!

Hopie said...

Thanks for visiting! Most stuff is in both languages so you should get along fine :-) I can't imagine trying to find ingredients in Finnish! That was brave of you to persist with cookies under those conditions.