Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scarborough Fair Part One--Rosemary Scones

Before I get into today's entry, I thought I'd give you a quick preview of what's coming up in future entries. If you recognize the song title above, you'll have correctly inferred there will by thyme (potato salad), parsely (linguine with clams) and sage (I have no flipping idea) coming up in the next several weeks. We'll also have a treat in which I will play photojournalist and take pics of my sweetie as he creates a creme brulee or two.

Today's dessert intrigued me and it's all my friend Mike's fault. Mike lives in Athens, Georgia, which is towards the northeast part of the state. It is home to UGA and some of the most fabulous food I've had. We went to a restaurant called the Farm, who grow as much as they serve as possible and source the rest locally. I remember an omelette with lemon-infused tomatoes that still makes my mouth water, and for dessert, we had an olive oil-rosemary pound cake. It was my first foray into combining a normally savory spice into something sweet and I was hooked.

Like most Americans, we'll be at a cookout on Memorial Day--does anyone do parades and read "In Flander's Field" anymore? We were asked to bring a salad, and then also dessert. The salad will be, I hope, a replica of one I had in a restaurant/club a couple weeks ago. Avocados and black pepper are involved, but I'll save the rest for the upcoming posts. After driving myself nuts about dessert, Ken said he'd make the creme brulee, but I kept browsing for desserts that didn't involve an ice cream maker.

Today's recipe comes from Giada De Laurentis of the Food Network. I like this recipe and the layout because it was accurate with the timing, and had some good hints about what the mix should look like before adding liquid. I also appreciated that it did not insist on a food processor--anyone with a fork can cut butter into dry ingredients, it just takes a little longer. Anyway, copyright is Food Network, if they're paying attention. Here's our ingredient list:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces (I was really tempted to switch out a tablespoon or two for olive oil. Maybe next time)
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups confectioner's sugar

I really love my half-moon chopper for cutting up herbs. I also saved myself a little time by cutting off a lot of the rosemary with scissors. My fingers still smelled like the fragrant herb, but I can deal with that.

For the scones: Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with asilpat or parchment paper. Set aside. (I used aluminum foil lightly greased with olive oil. I don't know where my parchment paper is)
In the bowl of a food processorpulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, salt, and butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. (I used the cook's note below) Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough.
 On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 1/2-inch thick, 10-inch circle.
I ran into a small problem here. I don't own a rolling pin. I don't do an awful lot of baking, so it's never come up as a need. Instead, I used an iced-tea glass that came from Tea Forte (delicious stuff, but I digress, and they're not paying me to endorse)

 Using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out heart-shaped pieces of dough and put on the prepared baking sheet. (I used a round juice glass, though at the end, I rather liked the lumpy hand-shaped one. I may go with that the next time) Gently kneadtogether any leftover pieces of dough and roll out to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into more heart shapes and add to the baking sheet. Using an index finger or a small, round measuring spoon, gently make an indentation in the center of each pastry heart. Spoon a heaped 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Transfer the cooked scones onto a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.

For the glaze: In a medium bowl, mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Gradually add the water until the mixture is thin enough to spread. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the scones. Let the glaze set for about 30 minutes. Serve or store in an airtight plastic container for 2 days.
I had a bit of a problem with the glaze. I don't know if I made it too thin or if 30 minutes wasn't enough time, but it just ran right off the scones, leaving only a taste behind. Didn't take away from the deliciousness, though.
Cook's Note: The dough can also be made by hand by stirring together the flour, sugar, baking powder,rosemary, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough.

Overall, I was really pleased with the results. They're not too sweet, the lemon in the glaze is a nice finishing touch and I find them good for breakfast or dessert. The finished product:  

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