Classic Cream Scones

This baking season was a season of some horrific surprises.  Apparently, many of my mom’s homemade recipes that I believed to be her creation from her natural motherly instincts come from the boxes and bags of ingredients.  The horror! The horror!

With the confidence from my upbringing destroyed, I had to bake away the pain (Just kidding, a recipe is a recipe and all that matters is that what you make tastes delicious.  Props to mom for cooking anything for us little brats).  When I want to try something new, I often turn to my cooking holy book: Cook’s Illustrated.  I love their explanations and scientific recipe testing techniques.  I have yet to have one of their recipes fail me.

I have had very few scones in my life, just the occasional Starbucks scone at the airport or some store bought scones as snacks. They were all just okay, but these scones were crumbly, slightly sweet, and tender.  Want to treat yourself to a light tasting breakfast these holidays?  You need to look no further.  And you’ll feel so fancy eating these scones instead of a handful of cereal that your pinky may involuntarily rise into the air.  These are a great gift to bake up for your friends and family.  Or serve it as part of your Christmas breakfast.

CLASSIC CREAM SCONES

Barely Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
INGREDIENTS

10 ounces all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup currants
1 cup heavy cream
Turbinado sugar, for topping*

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a food processor combine flour, sugar  salt, and baking powder.  Process for 5 seconds to mix.  Sprinkle cold butter on top and process until crumb mixture forms.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Stir in currants and then heavy cream.  Stir until soft dough forms.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead into soft ball.  The mixture will be very crumbly still but press into a 9 inch circle.  Cut into 10-12 small pieces   Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.  Bake for 10-11 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.

Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes.  Eat warm or at room temperature with butter or cream cheese.  Store in airtight container (they flavor gets better over time, so try to save some for the next day).

Makes 10-12 scones.

*You can also use normal granulated sugar.

Pear and Sour Cream Pizza

It is no secret that I love some wacky pizza toppings (like blueberry jam).  Fruit especially is one of my favorite toppings.  While the pizza bakes, the fruit gets warm, soft, and sweeter than their raw counterpart, adding a great natural sweetness to any pizza (and I love me some sweetness with dinner).  This particular pizza focuses solely on that sweet factor with a sweetened sour cream, pears, currants, and nuts. Really, this is a dessert masquerading as dinner.

The combination of pear and the sour cream topping is ahhhhh-mazing.  Sweet sour cream may not sound like the most appetizing thing to put on top of your pizza, but trust me, it is delicious: sweet and tangy.  The pears get sweet and soft while you bake, and the currants add an extra bite of sweetness.  Although forgotten on this batch pictured above, nuts (walnuts or pecans- candied nuts even if you dare) add a great crunch.

Trust me when I say that you will want to make the entire pizza just for yourself.  You will eat it all and love it.  And you will love life because any life with pear and sour cream pizza in it is great.

PEAR AND SOUR CREAM PIZZA
Slightly Adapted from Heat Oven to 350


INGREDIENTS

For the Crust:
1 package active yeast
1/2 cup water, at 110°F
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Pizza:
1 pear, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, pecans, or candied walnuts
1/4 cup currants

DIRECTIONS
For the Crust:
Preheat oven to 450°F.


In in small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with granulated sugar.  Let sit about 10 minutes, until foamy.  In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Pour dissolved yeast over flour.  Stir together with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 10-15 minutes, until dough is soft and no longer sticky.  Transfer dough to an lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with a towel.  Let sit in a warm place and rise for at least 1 hour, until dough doubles in size
For the Pizza:

Prepare your pizza stone or baking sheet. Roll dough out to desired consistency.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, honey, and brown sugar. Spread a layer of the sour cream topping on pizza dough, leaving an edge for the crust. Fold pear slices in half and place in an overlapping layer on top of sour cream mixture. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Sprinkle with currants and nuts on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden brown, and the edges of the pears begin to brown.

Serves 2-3.