Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I’m always sad when strawberry season ends. Happily, the berry love keeps coming when other delightful summer berries next appear at my local farmers’ market. Enter the blueberry, that little fruit which packs a big nutritional punch due to its incredibly high antioxidant capacity thanks in part to anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are powerful phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found mainly in the skins and give blueberries their romantic dusky hue.
Blueberries are my favorite berry to munch on right out of the carton or throw on cold breakfast cereal or oatmeal. They also make starring appearances in muffins of the corn or bran persuasion, not to mention pancakes. Blueberries bring beauty and flavor to salads, too, like in my arugula salad with quinoa, blueberries, and Marcona almonds.
In today’s recipe (obviously filed under the “moderation” chapter of Cooking and Eating the P.K. Way), I fold blueberries into scones alongside candied ginger. And, to be clear, the ginger is just as important to this glorious pastry as are the blueberries. Together, the winning combination of sweet blueberries and slightly spicy ginger comes together in one of the tastiest scones I’ve ever eaten.
Don’t believe me? Just try it yourself.
Blueberry Ginger Scones
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, diced
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons candied ginger, chopped
- 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon heavy cream, separated
- 1 teaspoon Demerara or other sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk together dry ingredients. Add diced butter into the mixture and combine using a fork or pastry knife until the butter is the size of small peas. Fold in blueberries and ginger to coat with the flour mixture. Add cream and stir with a fork just until flour is fully incorporated. The dough will be sticky. Lightly flour your hands and gather it together into a ball, then shape it into a disc about 1 inch tall and 6 inches wide on a floured surface. Use a pastry brush to lightly glaze the dough with the remaining 1 teaspoon of cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar, if desired. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 4 pieces. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet an inch apart and bake 15-20 minutes, until risen and lightly browned. Let cool approximately 10 minutes before eating.
Makes 4 large scones. (Had I fully realized how large they were I would have probably cut my disc into 5 or 6.)
It had been ages since I’ve made scones, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was with outcome. This recipe is a “cream” scone, as you glean from the egg-less ingredients. Because of that, the texture is incredibly rich and tender, more cake-y than bread-like. While no one would argue that a fresh blueberry scone all on its own isn’t delicious, the addition of candied ginger took these scones to a whole new level of greatness. You can use crystallized if you prefer, though candied tends to be a bit softer and works especially well in baked goods (like in my ginger snaps).
There was another reason I made this particular recipe, too. You see, if you follow my blog you know that I am in love with white whole wheat flour, a whole grain counterpart to refined flour that provides a softer texture than traditional whole wheat flour but with the same health benefits. I’ve used it in all kinds of baked goods with excellent results, like brownies, chocolate zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, and biscotti. This recipe begged me for white whole wheat flour and would doubtless yield a wonderful scone. However, I decided to conduct a little experiment here with you to examine the question directly: Is a scone made with white whole wheat flour truly as good as its refined grain counterpart?
We shall see, my friends. We shall see. Stay tuned for later this summer when I remake these scones and share the results…
Note: I never did post a follow-up recipe (sorry), but suffice to say that the version made with white whole wheat flour was also excellent, perhaps just ever-so-slightly more rustic (in a good way). I’d likely make the white whole wheat version next time, which was also a bit less cake-y.