Did I ever tell you that scones are one of my favorite things? There is just something about them – their crumbly butteriness, their hint of sweetness, the way the steam rises up when you slice them in half, still warm from the oven. They seem to melt away one’s worries and cares with the ease that they melt a pat of butter. One bite and you know all will be well in the world.
A cool misty morning or a drizzly afternoon are the perfect time for scone baking. I love the whole process – cutting the butter into tiny pieces, working it into the flour with my fingers, feeling the dough coming together, brushing the top with whisked egg yolk and sprinkling a bit of sugar or oats over the top. And then there is the aroma while they bake, permeating the entire house, giving one a sense of the deepest homeyness and comfort, of solace, while sipping tea and awaiting the buzz of the timer. And of course, the best part – when they are pulled out of the oven, broken in half to release their sweet steam and smeared with butter and jam. It is the deepest sort of bliss.
And of course, you can fold little bites of fruit into them as well – blueberries, raspberries, plums or peaches – little succulent pockets of sweetness tucked in here and there to that divine buttery crumb. You will be hard pressed, then, to find anything that truly can improve upon the humble and delectable scone. At least in my mind anyway.
So this morning, we ate peach and candied ginger scones topped with nutty oats, and they were perfect. They fortified my very spirit, they filled my belly with joy. I hope they will offer the same to you when you taste them.
- 1.5 cups whole spelt flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats, plus more for the tops
- 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup organic butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
- 1/8-1/4 cup milk, or as needed to moisten
- 2 large or 4 small peaches
- 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger
- 1 egg, whisked, for brushing on top
- Preheat the oven to 415 degrees F.
- First, blanch your peaches in boiling water for 2-3 minutes to remove the skins. Once you have the skins off, cut them in half to remove the pits and then slice into segments of about 1/4 inch thick.
- Next, sift together your flour, oats, sugar, cardamom, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter, which should be diced into quite small pieces for ease of mixing, and work it into the flour mixture with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs with no single crumb bigger than a pea.
- Fold the peaches and the ginger into the dough, crushing some of the peaches with your fingers.
- Drizzle the milk over the top of the dough, starting with 1 tablespoon, incorporating it in with your hands by folding the dough together. Add more milk as needed until you've the dough just holds together and has a softish but firm consistency. You don't want it to be sticky, so if this is the case, dust with a little more flour. The goal is to work the dough the least amount possible so that it stays crumbly and light.
- Press the dough into a rough circle or square about 1/2 inch thick and cut into 4 pieces. Place on a baking tray.
- Use a pastry brush or your fingers to paint the top of each scone with the beaten egg. Sprinkle oats over liberally over the top to cover each scone, and place in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
- Let cool for 5 minutes or so, and then enjoy them warm.