Saturday, July 17, 2010
I have been smitten with peaches lately. I’m still in awe at how early we get summer fruit in Central Texas, and each week at the farmer’s market I feel like a kid in a candy shop, with so many wonderful choices that I hardly know where to begin. There is bright green okra…
…Buckets of tomatoes…
…Bouquets of herbs and flowers…
It is all inspiring, and I wish I had an army to cook for so I could take advantage of it all. Alas, even my husband is out of town so it’s just me, and I will have to make do with only the pictures for now.
But in the midst of all this bounty, it is the peach that I am completely enamored of. I have been eating them for breakfast every day as I posted earlier, and still it’s not enough. I would love to make a big cobbler or pie, but being home all alone with a pie would not be a good thing. I had the same thought about ice cream, and it is probably lucky I didn’t have any cream on hand or I would still be eating it and not writing a word.
And then it dawned on me that I haven’t made scones in a while, and more surprisingly, that I haven’t baked much lately or even posted one single recipe for a baked good (savory Tomato Tarts are a bit iffy). I love to bake, and now that I think about it, I can't believe it's taken me so long to write about baking. I had decided: I would make peach scones.
I wanted them to be special, to really show off the lovely fruit. Frankly, I wanted them to have a wow factor. Since peaches and ginger have a natural affinity for one another, I added some crystallized ginger to the dry ingredients, and some fresh grated ginger to the sliced peaches. For added complexity, I substituted ¼ cup of cornmeal for flour, which gave the dough a little more texture and a nice hint of sweetness.
Oh my goodness, they were so good! I wish I could invite you over to have a cup of tea and one of these scones! The ginger was completely infused into the scone in each bite, sweet and spicy, offsetting the fruit marvelously. Thankfully I had the foresight to freeze half of them before baking, or there wouldn’t be any left when my hubby gets home. Still, I may have to package some up for the neighbors so I don’t eat 10 scones today.
The taste of ginger is still lingering in my mouth. I think it’s tea time again.
Double Ginger Peach Scones
I like to make small scones so I can enjoy one with a cup of tea in the afternoon. You could just make eight large ones if you’d like, but then you’ll have less of them to eat and share with your friends. They will take longer to bake if you make bigger ones.
2 ¾ cup flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons very finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup (1.5 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 small peach, ripe but still quite firm
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
A few tablespoons of turbinado sugar, to sprinkle on top
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and position rack to middle of oven.
Slice the peach (no need to peel it) into very thin slices around the peach.
Then cut around in the opposite direction, so that the slices are all cut in half.
Place these in a small bowl and stir in fresh ginger, stirring to combine. The ginger may initially just clump together, so just gently mix it until it’s evenly dispersed. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, sugar, cornmeal, crystallized ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add the buttermilk, stirring with a wooden spoon until it clumps together.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and bring the dough into a loose ball. Divide in half, and pat one half into a round a little less than half an inch thick (if one piece is slightly larger, use it for the bottom). Spread the peaches around the disk, as you would pizza toppings. Flatten the other half of the dough into a disk the same size as the first one. Place this on top of the first disk, and pat it down, kind of sealing the edges as needed.
Cut the round into eight even pieces. Cut each eighth into three triangles, making them as even as possible.
Place the scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. You’ll need to do two batches, or you can freeze one sheet of them, placing them in a freezer bag once they are rock hard; then just bake them from the frozen state for just a few extra minutes. This is what I do, so I can have fresh scones without lifting a finger.
Bake for 12-13 minutes until the scones are golden brown. Try to let them cool a bit, even though the smell of spicy ginger will tempt you. These are wonderful with a cup of tea, especially Rooibos tea.