Biscuits and Scones

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

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Strawberry Rhubarb Scones (3)

I just love living in a country where we have so many seasons. Every season is exciting because each one brings new and wonderful goodies to see, smell, taste, hear, and feel. These days we see apple blossoms gleaming in the sunshine; feel the glowing warmth; hear the orioles singing and the tractors chugging; smell the lilacs, and lastly, taste all the gastronomic pleasures the season offers.

Of those gastronomic spring pleasures, rhubarb rates right up there as one of the best. That burst of tartness on the tongue, surrounded by sweetness could draw forth odes to joy. Any takers on penning an Ode to Joyous Rhubarb?

We enjoyed a trip to Ireland in April and my attention was caught by the many and diverse ways the UK serves and sells rhubarb. We had noticed it when we were in England too. Rhubarb chutneys and preserves, rhubarb sticky toffee pudding (oh, yeah!), rhubarb crème brûlée (OH, YEAH!!!), not to mention in salads, on meats, in porridge, and in drinks. Rhubarb is slowly catching on here in Ontario in a commercial way, though, as the local food trend is growing. That’s good news!

You know what else is big in the UK, right? Scones. Yes. Do you see where this is going? Rhubarb + scones = Rhubarb Scones. And we’re going to add strawberries too, because by the end of this week, we should be getting in our first strawberries! So now we have arrived at Strawberry Rhubarb Scones. You see the progression.

I make these scones each spring. Sometimes I brush them with an egg white wash, then sprinkle with coarse sugar, sometimes I drizzle with a vanilla glaze; this year I brushed them with cream and sprinkled with regular white sugar, which resulted in a softer top. I think so far my favourite is the egg white wash, because I love crusty things. But that’s the beauty of cooking, right? You can personalize it to your own tastes.

 

See my post on Double Apple Scones for some tips on making scones. The frozen butter trick was a life-changer for me. Just remember to have everything cold, cold, cold.

 

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Glazed with egg white wash.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones (8)

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. Check out other recipes on their new website! The stories and views presented here are my own.

Although rhubarb is technically a vegetable, it is most often served as a fruit. It grows in large bushy clumps with huge leaves, which are poisonous. Since it requires cool weather to grow. it is found in more northern climates. Once it gets hot, it wilts and gets stringy. It can be frozen and used from the frozen state. 

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Fresh strawberries and rhubarb; beautiful!

Strawberry Rhubarb Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flourStrawberry Rhubarb Scones (3)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, scored, frozen and grated
  • 2/3 cup half and half or whipping cream
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped coarsely
  • egg white wash, cream or glaze

Directions

SCONES: Score the butter at the half cup mark, then freeze for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F or 218°C. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the egg and cream. Grate cold butter into the bowl of dry ingredients to the score mark and stir lightly with a fork to mix. It should look like dry pie pastry with little lumps of butter showing.

POUR the egg mixture into the bowl and add the chopped rhubarb and strawberries. Lightly toss and stir with a fork again just until the dough starts to gather together but is still crumbly and wet. Turn it out onto a floured surface and gently fold everything together until it holds together, adding a little more cream if needed. Divide into two balls, sprinkle flour over top, and pat each into an 8″ disc, about 1″ thick. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. 

PLACE the wedges on a greased or parchment-lined pan, leaving at least 1″ space between each one. Brush the tops of the scones with cream or egg wash (1 egg white whisked with 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle with coarse or fine sugar). If you’re planning to glaze them, don’t do anything. 

BAKE the scones for 18- 22 minutes until they look golden and have crusty edges. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving or glazing. 

SIMPLE VANILLA GLAZE: Whisk 1 cup of icing sugar with 1 – 2 tablespoons milk or cream and a splash of vanilla to a drizzle consistency.

Double Apple Scones

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Double Apple Scones
Double Apple Scone turned into Triple Apple Scones!

Scones. How my world has been brightened by the advent of these crusty, crumbly versatile treats. There are the hearty, oatsy varieties, developed to stick to your ribs as you trek out on the cold, windy Scottish Highlands for a tryst with your ain wee bonnie laddie. There are Irish scones and Dutch scones. Then there are the delicate golden types that you eat daintily, spreading them with clotted cream and blackberry jam while crooking your pinkie as you drink your tea out of beautiful bone china teacups and pretend that you are in the presence of M’Lady England. Yes, mum. I love them all. They each have their place in my multicultural world.

For breakfast, I tend to go for the heartier kinds of scones. I want one that will hang in there until noon; one that I can break off and savour with my freshly ground and brewed coffee while watching the birds flitting about on my feeder.

When I came across this recipe, I was intrigued because it uses applesauce as the liquid ingredient instead of the usual cream, as well as fresh apple chunks. Since applesauce is part of our heritage every bit as much as my long, swinging braids were in my childhood, my eyes perked up at the notion of including it. I expected the scones to be missing their crusty exterior because of the applesauce, but they still had it. Jackpot! It stayed in my file.

Double Apple Scones
Golden brown. moist and chewy Apple Scones

Here are a few tips about scone-making that I have learned and will pass on to you. (Yeah, don’t mention it. I’m just nice that way.) As always, click or hover on the images for descriptions and captions.

1. Use well-chilled butter and grate it. This can be done by freezing it for 30 minutes, or using butter that has been kept in the fridge. This saves the step of cutting it in with a pastry blender. Handy-dandy! I made a double batch here because I like to give things like this as gifts.

2. Mix the liquid into the dry ingredients until it starts to hang together in clumps, then tip the mass out onto a heavily floured surface, and knead about 10- 15 turns, just until it forms a ball shape. Divide the ball in two and flatten each half into a 7″ by 3/4″ thick circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges and place them on a tray, leaving 1/2″ in between the scone wedges. 

3. Freeze the scones after cutting into pieces and bake them from the frozen stage. The freezing actually relaxes the gluten and causes them to puff up more. This is a huge time-saver; just pull them out of the freezer the morning you want to serve them and bake them. Oh joy, oh bliss! Fresh scones, just like that.

I used my homemade applesauce (remember? it’s part of my heritage) but we do also sell a great home-style unsweetened applesauce at Martins, made with our very own apple supply. 

For this recipe I used the ever-popular Cortland. Its red, streaky skin and pure white flesh make it great for sauces and baked goods, as well as eating out of hand. It has a wonderful old-fashioned flavour that evokes memories of apples stored under blankets in our cold cellar at home. 

How do you pronounce the word “scones”? Well, apparently you may pronounce it whichever way you choose: skahns, skones, or skoons. Take your pick. I pronounce them skahns, because that’s how I mostly heard it pronounced in England.

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. All recipes, views and stories are my own. 

Double Apple Scones

Ingredients

Double Apple Scones
Double Apple Scone turned into Triple Apple Scones!
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ( you can substitute half whole wheat, if you like)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice (1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon cloves)

 

  • 1/2 cup very cold or frozen butter, grated
  • 1 cup fresh apple, washed, unpeeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks (I used Cortland)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional, but we sure like the addition!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

  • cream or milk for brushing on top
  • 1/4 cup coarse or fine sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon for sprinkling

Directions

Whisk together the dry ingredients, then grate the frozen/chilled butter and stir it in with a fork. Add the chopped apples and cranberries and lightly stir them in. Whisk the eggs, add the applesauce and vanilla and whisk again. Stir the liquid mixture into the bowl until the mixture begins to clump together. Turn it out onto a heavily floured surface and knead lightly for 10-15 turns.

Divide the mixture into two balls, flatten each into a 7″ circle, about 3/4′ thick, then cut each circle into 6 wedges with a knife dipped into flour or run under cold water.  Try to have the edges the same height as the middle; not thinner. Brush the tops with milk or cream, then sprinkle them with the cinnamon-sugar. Place on a tray covered with parchment, leaving at least 1/2″ between each scone, and freeze for at least 30 minutes (overnight works great).

Before baking, preheat oven to 425° F. Once it’s hot, bake the scones without thawing them for 18 – 22 minutes. Let them cool on the tray for five minutes before serving. Eat them plain, or spread with butter or honey. Or… slather them with a dab of apple butter like we do and turn them into Triple Apple Scones! Delight in every bite.