Tonawanda News

April 15, 2012

Scones seem fussy but are easy to make

By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News

— I often have to keep reminding myself just how easy it is to make scones.

Scones are one of those pastries in my mind that sound a lot more impressive and fancy than they really are. I imagine British women at high tea enjoying a nice scone with some Earl Grey and a cucumber sandwich.

“One lump, or two?”

But when it comes to baking, aside from perhaps a one-bowl cake batter, scones are one of the easiest things to whip up and even easier to freeze in individual portions to bake later.

All you have to do is cut up butter into dry ingredients, add in some liquid, turn it out onto a floured surface and form into a wheel. It’s not even necessary to knead the dough, just cut it into wedges, throw it onto a pan and into the oven and you’re good to go.

This particular recipe for honeyed grapefruit oat scones was inspired by two things: my discovery of Greek yogurt and an abundance of grapefruit I ended up with after I spied a sale on a whole bag of them at the grocery store. When will I ever learn?

Realizing I’d never eat all the grapefruit before they spoiled, I went in search of a recipe to use them up. While it only calls for one grapefruit, I was attracted to this recipe because of its use of Greek yogurt and oats.

The mellow taste of the honey and yogurt work nicely with the sourness of the grapefruit and the oats add a nice subtle crunch. The original recipe calls for a mixture of oat flour and all-purpose flour, but since I couldn’t find any, I went with my stand-by of whole-wheat pastry flour. I wouldn’t use just AP flour in this recipe — the nuttiness of an oat or whole wheat flour really helps balance the sour fruit.

Admittedly, this scone recipe is perhaps a little trickier than most because you’re working with a fruit that’s a little difficult to segment and whose juice can easily cause the edges of your scones to burn.

Luckily, a quick Google video search can take you to any number of demonstrations on the best way to peel and segment a grapefruit.

It’s not too difficult. Using the sharpest medium-length knife you can find, cut the peel off the grapefruit. Once you’re done, go back and make sure all the white pith is removed — that’s what gives grapefruit its bitter taste and it will prevent you from easily cutting out the segments.

To remove the segments whole, cut along the inside of the membranes on either side of the segment and pop it out whole, easy as that.

When you fold the grapefruit pieces into the dough, try your best not to crush them and release their juices ... it will make your dough too wet. Also keep an eye on the scones as they bake — if a lot of juices leak out during the process, they can accumulate around the bottom of the scone, causing it to burn faster than other areas of the pastry.

The best thing about scones is how easy it is to freeze the unbaked dough for later use. Once you cut the wedges, put the unbaked pieces on a plate or pan in the freezer for a couple hours. Once frozen, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, drop them all in a freezer bag and you can bake them later individually.

Honeyed grapefruit oat scones

1 cup all-purpose flour

3⁄4 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1⁄4 cup granulated sugar and more to sprinkle on top

1 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄4 teaspoon ginger powder

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 ruby red grapefruit, zested and segmented

1 tablespoon orange zest

8 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, sliced into 1⁄2-inch cubes

3⁄4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and salt). Mix in the orange and grapefruit zest.

Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients, working fast because you don’t want the butter to warm up. Mix the butter in until the crumbs are about the size of small peas.

Add the yogurt and honey and lightly mix together with a fork until all the dry ingredients are a bit moist. Again, don’t over-mix because you want the butter to remain cold and in pea-sized pieces in order to get a nice, flakey scone ... you don’t want a uniform dough.

Gently fold the grapefruit pieces into the dough, being careful not to crush the fruit.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form together into a wheel about 1 inch thick. Feel free to sprinkle a bit more flour onto the dough if it gets too wet to work with.

Cut the wheel into eight wedges, sprinkle the top with a bit more sugar and move with a spatula to parchment-covered cookie sheet.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, but check a few minutes before time is up to make sure the bottom edges aren’t burning. (Mine did, but since it was just the edges, I could easily trim off the offending pieces).

— Recipe adapted from www.thekitchn.com

Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.