I might have found it.
For "my idea of a perfect scone".
Do you think it is some kind of obsession? This scone thing? 😉 . I have to look at it as an outsider... maybe..jus a tad bit. But the search might be over. The "perfect" scone exists. And I've just had it. Still can't believe it.
The truth is, when you finally find something that you were looking for for a long time, it is both thrilling and sad. The quest is always exciting, adrenaline filling, the discovery is blustering and jubilant but then what...? No more looking, no more searching, no more exploration. I have to find another good cause now, or I'll be lost. I feel like I'm overemphasizing a little, here 😉 , but wanted to give you the picture before revealing the winner.
Ok, I enjoyed Loreto's cream cheese scones a lot, last time he made them. I gave him a 9, that means something, and I already asked him to make them again for me. Lovely lovely flavor. But, there's a but (and Loreto would smile at that because he knows way to well my "buts"), I finally found that crumbly yet soft texture that when I bite into it makes my heart skip a bit.
Maybe I can start talking about the week that led to the "discovery". It has not been a good week. Loreto and I we've been both battling a virus that took our bodies hostage and that seems to have found our nose, throat and chest a good place to stay. That ended up, mostly for me, in a reclusive state: no jazzercise, no yoga, no socializing or any outdoor activity. That meant lots of time for: blogging, reading, laying down watching tv, baking, reading some more, entertaining the cats, more baking and taking tons of pictures, playing with backgrounds, backdrops, props. Luckily I had to slip a translation (english to italian) in all this nonsense.
It started with some pears in the fridge, the last from our saturday venture to the Farmers' Market. And a chocolate bar, "Nella Cannella", that comes straight from Eataly, Rome. The organic pears are a match made in heaven for the organic, fair trade Modica Chocolate with Cinnamon. If you are not familiar with "Cioccolato di Modica", please try to find it somewhere and taste it. It will blow your mind and will leave you wonder why we not all move to Sicily. Modica is a charming baroque town in the Southern coast of Sicily and its famous chocolate is deeply connected with the Aztech culture brought to them during the Spanish dominations and their introduction of the cacao seeds. You would recognize the Modica chocolate with your eyes closed; its peculiar grainy texture and aromatic flavor due the tiny sugar cristals that crunch beneath your teeth and no butter or oil added to the chocolate. There was a little poem inside the package from a great sicilian writer Leonardo Sciascia that said "the flavor of Modica chocolate is so unique that whoever tastes it seems to have arrived at the archetype, the absolute, and the chocolate produced elsewhere – even the most famous – seems to be an adulterated or corrupted version...”.
Back to the recipe, and to the other ingredients that made these scones so perfect, I have to say where I found the recipe. On "Smitten Kitchen", and it's not the first time that their recipes reveal to be a winner. The diced pears roasting in the oven, the cinnamon chocolate chopped roughly, one bowl, a quick and light mix of the ingredients, an egg wash and sugar sprinkle on top and Bum, in less than no time, a superb scone is out of the oven. I opted for a different shape this time, I wanted them round so as to make them stand from every other scone I had before.
They were a revelation: rough, firm, a little crunchy, crumbly, delicate in the center, crisp at the edges, gracefully bronzed, subtly sweet, they are destined to become my perfect Fall indulgence. I had half, just in between shots, still warm from the oven, with a spoonful of berry jam on top. Divine.
To turn an ugly week into some smiles and happiness, yesterday night we finally went out and listened to some good live music. A cd release for a local indie-folk trio "Post Script". So enchanting and captivating.
Love to hear what quest you're on.
Adapted from a recipe found on Smitten Kitchen.Print
- 2 pears, diced
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar plus ½ tablespoons for sprinkling
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon table salt plus additional for egg wash
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup heavy cream or whipping cream
- ¼ cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used cinnamon chocolate)
- 2 eggs, 1 for dough, 1 for glaze
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Peel and core pears. Cut into 1-inch chunks.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pear chunks on parchment and roast until they feel dry to the touch and look a little browned underneath, about 20 minutes.
- Slide parchment paper with pear chunks onto a cooling rack (or onto a plate in the fridge or freezer to speed this up) and cool to lukewarm. Leave oven on. Line baking sheet with another piece of parchment.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ¼ cup sugar and salt.
- Toss in cooled pear chunks, bits of butter, heavy cream and 1 egg.
- Mix the dough lightly until it just comes together. Don’t overmix.
- Add the chocolate chunks and mix for 5 seconds more.
- On a very well floured counter, pat out dough into a 6-inch round.
- Cut into 6 round biscuits (or wedges if you prefer) and transfer to baking sheet at least two inches apart.
- Whisk remaining egg in a small dish with 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt.
- Brush each scone with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake scones until firm and golden, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a cooling rack.
You can get this recipe all the way to the point where you’d bake them, and instead cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap and freeze them overnight. Bake them directly from the freezer in the morning; they should only take a few minutes longer. For longer than overnight, transfer frozen, already shaped, scones to a freezer bag until needed. In both cases, brush the egg wash/sprinkle the sugar on while still frozen, before baking the scones.
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