Pretty? Pretty darn good is what these scones are. I got them off Smitten Kitchen -- hers were Raspberry Ricotta Scones. I used strawberries instead because frozen raspberries cost a bomb-and-a-half here (and we hardly get them fresh).
I kinda feel like a stalker though as this is the second Smitten Kitchen recipe I've tried in a week: the first was a cheese, honey and sea-salt flat bread which was really to die for. And now, this. But, really, I am no stalker though I like the blog a lot.
Let me explain. I was out shopping. I saw this carton of strawberries -- imported from Driscolls in the United States -- for just RM10. I had to get it even though I had no idea what I would do with them. Maybe jam? Anyway, I bought them. They looked lovely. So bright, so juicy.
I went home and went on my daily blog patrol (I visit my favourite blog sites a couple of times each week) and I saw the raspberry scone post on SK. Sooooooo pretty. Oh my god. I had to make them. I'd use the strawberries I bought! (that was a light bulb moment, btw).
So you see. I am not a stalker. I had the strawberries already.
Scones are quick breads. They're pretty straightforward to make, technique-wise that is unlike the French Macaron for which factors beyond your control like the temperature of your kitchen or the humidity in the air impact on the baked product. No, scones are less complicated to make. But, having said that, getting a light, fluffy and moist scone (the way I like them) isn't a sure thing. In fact, it's a lot easier to end up with a dry, heavy and flat baked piece of dough (I am unwilling to call these scones) that's more like a thick biscuit than anything. I'm not dissing; I'm sharing as I've been down that road before.
Check out this article in The Guardian on How To Make The Perfect Scone and you'll begin to understand the science behind this treat. And then there's this other article in the same publication about how you should eat your scones -- so you spread the jam first and only then add a dollop of cream or is it the other way around. The English do take their scones seriously.
Me, I just wanted a light, soft, fluffy and pretty scone.
Apart from swapping the raspberries for strawberries, I also made a few alterations to the original recipe from SK. I used Greek yoghurt instead of double cream and I changed the ratios between the whole wheat flour and plain flour indicated in the recipe. Minor changes and thankfully they didn't adversely affect the scone turn out. They were soft, light and the baked strawberries were jammy and nice. Perhaps, next time I will add a little more baking powder or as the Guardian article suggests, mix a little bicarbonate soda to the blend.
Next time. For now, I will leave you with the original recipe, indicating the changes I made.
Strawberry Ricotta Yoghurt Scones
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used 11/4 cups)
1 cup all purpose flour (I used 3/4 cup)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
85g unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped up
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Greek yoghurt/double cream
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Whisk the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add the butter and using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the chopped strawberries and mix with a wooden spoon till the strawberries are well incorporated with the crumbly flour. It's fine if the strawberries get a little mushy and colour the flour. In fact, it kinda looks really pretty this way.
Add the ricotta and the yoghurt/cream and gently stir in with a spatula until the mixture comes together to form a dough. It will be a little wet and sticky, don't panic.
Generously flour your work surface and your hands, and gently move the dough from the bowl onto your work surface. You will need to flour your hands else the dough will stick to you.
Sprinkle some dough on the dough and gently press it into a 15-20cm square that's 1-1.5 cm high. Cut into nine small and equal squares and then transfer them one by one onto a lines baking sheet. Use a floured spatula/knife to do the transfer.
Bake for about 15 mins or till the sides start to get golden. The smell of the strawberries and the butter will be irresistible but take heed of the next step. Remove and let the scones cool before you eat them. They will set as they cool. But, don't let them get cold though cos scones are best eaten warm.