This may be the wisest advice I can ever hope to impart. For the next time you have a scone disaster, I’ve discovered that there is nothing more pleasant than jam and softly whipped cream. It can rescue even the toughest and stoutest of scones–these scones are one such example of those magically restorative powers. They were suddenly rendered fully and even pleasantly edible. (This was lucky, as I found the bits of sugar and flour they shed a bit too inconvenient to replace some
flattened loaves of bread rocks as my favourite paperweights.)
A not-so recent discovery is that my special skill is “bread-transformation”. Whether biscotti, pastry, or scones, I always manage to overwork the dough and produce something chewy and tough…but with some rather decent gluten development of course.
Calendula flowers apparently taste quite buttery. I can sort of see (though it’s hard to say how much of it is just the power of suggestion and imagination) when I eat them, but they hardly come out in the scones–the main purpose is just for an excitingly speckled dough.
And what else would this post be without more on the odyssey of me struggling to write blog posts? (Oh woe is me). A friend, who I’ll refer to as the Very Smart Friend, writes this clever and funny and amazing blog, which mostly composes “prose to concrete nouns”. We talked a bit about my struggles, the only conversation topic I typically engage in.
She gave some rather sage advice. It was hardly unexpected; she is one of the most self-composed and disciplined people I know, and awfully good at giving advice.
Very Smart Friend’s advice was to write about whatever has happened to you lately or whatever it is you’re thinking about. If it’s a bad exam, she suggested, write about that, or maybe write about papers after doing nothing but sifting through pages and pages of papers. From there, you can branch into all sorts of directions. For her, a single word can sprout into a clever essay. For me, I squint, lean back, eat some tough scones and hope that something will come of it.
And so, today I took her advice.
calendula and sage spelt sourdough scones
Adapted from Vanessa’s gorgeous sourdough scones.
35 g spelt flour
90 g flour
16 g sugar
good pinch salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
50 g cold butter
15 small sage leaves + extra
2-3 calendula flowers
55 g sourdough starter
70 g buttermilk
egg, to glaze
Whisk together the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder. Thinly sliver the sage leaves and rub together with a spoonful more sugar. Pick the petals from the calendula.
Cut the butter into small pieces, toss into the flour mixture. Rub together with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Add the sage and calendula petals, mix lightly to combine.
Whisk together the sourdough starter and buttermilk until smooth. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, add the buttermilk and mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a rough dough.
Turn it out onto a floured surface, knead only once or twice until cohesive. Pat out into a thick circle and cut into desired shapes. Reroll scraps.
Place on a baking sheet, glaze with a bit of egg, sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until golden.
Serve warm, spread generously with apricot jam and whipped cream (or clotted).