Sadly, I’m not one to have fresh baked good sitting around on a cake stand ready for the nibbling - mostly because it wouldn’t last two seconds in this house – but also because I am by nature not a baker.
Unless you are a master baker, you cannot bake by “feel” the way you can throw together a last minute dinner. I am lost – not entirely unhappily so - when it comes to this confectionary side of the kitchen. The engineering of most desserts still remain a culinary mystery to me, but therein lays the magic of them. However, there are some things that one must reconcile, for example, when the love of something outweighs ones own limitations to make that thing appear. Fact: I love fresh baked scones – I love the salty sweetness of them and their crumbly nature. I love that you get to smear butter on something that is essentially made out of butter – and most of all I love how simple they are to make. Basically that is my lesson today, even I can make these…so you can too.
When searching for the perfect scone recipe to share, I went to my trusted source for all things delicious, Melissa Clark. Her Cornmeal Plum Scones and her genius way of "stuffing" them were a huge inspiration - credit given where it is due. I wanted to spice them up a little though and went a-rummaging through my panty. I came upon a little baggy with small dark seeds, not sure what they were, I popped one in my mouth and promptly thought of cinnamon buns - well Swedish Kanelbulle to be exact. These were *cardamom seeds - oddly enough, a major ingredient in Swedish baking. I was sold and ready to start.
[Note: Did you know that, "In Sweden, cardamom is very popular with most baked foods, where the per capita consumption is about 60 times greater than that in the US." (*Ed. P.N. Ravindran and K.J. Madhusoodanan, Cardamom, The Genus Ellataria. (London: Taylor & Francis, 2002), pg.276.)]
[Serving size: 8 scones]
- 1 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds or 1 teaspoon ground
- zest from 1 lemon
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, cubed
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 bartlett pears, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4inch cubes
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 whole cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly flour the baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
In a small mixing bowl mix together the cream and egg.
In a large mixing bowl mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder salt, lemon zest and cardamom. Incorporate the cubed butter into flour mixture - pinch the pieces while mixing with your hands. The mixture will begin to look like coarse crumbs. Pour in 2/3rd’s of the cream and egg mixture and keep mixing with your hands to make a smooth dough. It will be a little sticky, but should not become wet. Save the left over cream and egg mix for brushing.
Gently form the dough into a ball and place on the floured or parchment lined baking sheet. Press down to make a 1 inch thick round about 9 inches across. Cut the dough into 8 even wedges and separate them a good distance apart – they will brown better this way. Press down with your thumb in the center of each wedge to create 1/2 inch deep indent. With a pastry brush, lightly spread the cream and egg mix over each section, then generously spoon the pear compote into each divot.
Transfer the baking sheet to oven and bake the scones until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve the lemon cardamom scones as is or with the remaining pear compote or butter. Enjoy! Perhaps with a cup of tea!