Sunday, May 17, 2009

Orange and scones and orange scones

I'm sure you have one of these: that orange that's just sort of left over from a big bag of oranges; that one orange no one wants -- at first because no one ever wants to take the last of anything and hear someone shout, "Where's my orange? I was saving that orange for a special occasion and now some hog has eaten it!" -- and then because no one wants to eat it because it's looking a little sad and, besides, now there's this beautiful new bag of oranges and who wants to settle for the sad, possibly dried out, left over orange?

You know the one -- it's probably sitting there next to a blackening banana.

Take that orange, zest it, juice it (with your handy dandy 1945 juicer) and throw it in your favorite scone recipe.

Don't have a favorite scone recipe? Well, this is mine, adapted from a recipe my mother clipped out of a newspaper before I was born. I say "adapted" because back in the day everyone was obsessed with sifting.

Scones are traditionally a slap-together sort of affair; like a biscuit, only sweeter. When my mother used her recipe, you'd think she was making the finest French pastry, what with all the sifting and resifting. When I was growing up, Mama making scone was an event requiring use of an entire kitchen table and counter, with bowls and spoons and sifters and wax paper, along with instruments enabling exact measurements that would have made a scientist proud. Nerve-wracking.

So my first order of business when making my mother's scones was to take the ceremony out of the scone. Then I had a good, basic, traditional (to me, anyway) scone that could be adapted to today's not-so-traditional additions and flavors.

So here goes:

Basic Scones

In a bowl, whisk together:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Cut in:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)

Keep cutting until no hunk is bigger than a small pea.

In a measuring cup, beat:
1 egg
Add enough milk to the egg to make 3/4 cup of liquid.
Add liquid to the dry mixture and stir with a fork until moist. And it will be moist, the degree of which will depend on the weather. But this is going to get a little messy.

Cover your counter surface with flour and dump this moist batter on top. Sprinkle more flour on top of that. Work it around to bring it together and divide in thirds. Add as much flour as makes you comfortable, but remember that the more flour you add, the tougher the scones will be. Pat each third into a circle approx. 5 inches in diameter (don't you dare get out a ruler -- it's just not that important).

Cut each circle into quarters and place on a parchment-lined (or silpat) cookie sheet. A floured baking spatula makes this a lot easier (also handy for scraping up the gooky counter).

Brush the top of each scone with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes at -- well, the original recipe said 425 degree F. According to my recipe notes, I've had ovens that only required 400 degrees and this oven only requires 375 degrees. So there you have it. I'd start with 425 and check on them during the last five minutes. Again -- this is not an angel food cake; it will bear up while you open and close the oven door or stomp around the kitchen or chase the dog off the table. So 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. Remove from sheet as soon as out of the oven. There's your basic scone.

Now, about that orange that you've zested and juiced: To make orange scones, add the zest with the dry ingredients and the juice will be part of the milk you add to make the 3/4 liquid. Don't worry if there is no juice -- it's the zest that really gives the orange flavor.

You could add 3/4 cup of craisins or dried blueberries if you have them. The original recipe called for 3/4 cup raisins, but I never put them in because there are a lot of people around here who don't like wrinkled fruit. (Yes, I searched YouTube for that old Robert Morley Sunsweet prune commercial -- to no avail...) Dirtman would put in those stupid goji berries Costco suckered him into last year -- if he knew how to bake.


Darkgarden said...

I did salsa this morning again.

I had cilantro this time. Made it damn fine. Blanched the tomatoes this time too, to remove skin... I'm likin' the way it came out. Also added another type of hot pepper w. the jalepeno.

I'd put a pic here if I could to add to your professor-level scone recipe comment section.

Now you got something to feed those damn birds you got over there.


Sisiggy said...

You could always post a photo on your favorite application: Facebook!

The scones didn't make it to 10 a.m. And we don't give the excess carbs to the birds -- we use it as dog treats.

There are rabbits in the yard also; happy little bunnies, chomping on clover. Would you like to come over and kick a few in the head?

Darkgarden said...

...Why.... yes... YES!

I would!

Only... I wouldn't kill and cook them... No...

In the Darkgarden we would kick the rabbits, then spend the remainder of time wondering why we did it, and suffering over the pain we caused... and dream about doing it all over again.

This is why people read our garbage.

Sisiggy said...

...or run away screaming...