Fruit, Oat & Einkorn Scones
Makes 16 scones
Adapted from Linda Rondinone, Block Island, RI
Photos by Greg Nesbit Photography
In an industry which specializes in hot and crazy, you have to be pretty selective about your jobs. It’s rare to stumble into a dream job: a kitchen with a window and a decent amount of work space, some amount of freedom to make what you want and a generous budget for ingredients, enough help to make it possible to do something above and beyond within a reasonable amount of hours…for a decent wage and lovely bosses! I had the good fortune to enjoy a few dream jobs before we created our own “chez nous,” more or less just the way that we wanted it to be. So I couldn’t have been happier or more appreciative during the summer of 2000, to find myself working at the Atlantic Inn on Block Island for owners Brad and Anne Marthens and chef Ed Moon.
My job came with an assistant, a breakfast baker who wanted to do more on the dessert side, and in exchange for me making breakfast on her days off, she would apprentice with me on plated desserts and French baking techniques. Linda became much more than an assistant, a great friend, a kindred spirit and a lively personality to work with every day. (I’m fond of saying that there aren’t too many people that you wish to see at 5am every day, and Linda’s obsession with baking makes her just as happy and energetic to be up early and working as I am!). After my sunrise-lit stroll up the hill to the elegant Victorian Inn, we’d spend our days baking and trading recipes, trying new things and becoming close friends. While I was able to help her work croissants and pain au chocolat into the breakfast repertoire at the Inn, she introduced me to some fantastic American-style breakfast pastries which later became best-sellers when I eventually opened a bakery: sticky buns, cinnamon buns, and the most addictive, buttery scones I’d ever tasted.
My chef in pastry school in London was adamant about spending some time on English pastries, including my beloved English scones. He rightly stated that if you’re going to work in the industry as a pastry chef, you could easily end up at a job where you had to make scones every day, so “you’d jolly well better know how to do them correctly!” Later, during my internship at the Churchill Intercontinental Hotel not far from the school, the daily scone-making task quickly fell to me, in fact, thanks to his effective teaching.
I love to make scones of every kind and every day, but for my own personal snacking it doesn’t get any better than Linda’s scones. They don’t need jam or butter, they are sweet and satisfying just the way they are. I’m happy to say that they are just as delicious or more made with Einkorn flour, but wheat flour works perfectly well. I’ve done many variations: blueberry-lemon, cranberry-orange, candied ginger, apple & cinnamon, banana-chocolate chip. You can put the fruit of your choice and make the glaze to compliment it (a plain glaze with some buttermilk & powdered sugar is nice when you want something neutral). This is one of the few places where baking intersects with cooking in the sense that you can go off on your own a bit, so enjoy it!
3 cups (430 g) Einkorn (or AP) flour
1 ½ c (138 g) quick-cooking oats
2/3 c (138 g) sugar
1 T + 1 t (20 g) baking powder
¾ t (4 g) salt
2 sticks + 1 T cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 ½ c buttermilk, cold & well-shaken
1 ½ c wild Blueberries ( I prefer to use frozen berries here, as they keep the dough cold for longer while you’re working with it!)
-Preheat oven to 375F
-Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
-Work in stand mixer with flat beater, or in a large mixing bowl by hand. Place all of the dry ingredients into the bowl and whisk to combine well. Add the cold butter and cut in until mixture resembles very coarse meal with only a few larger butter lumps (sometimes I use my fingers to flatten the cubes slightly, just don’t handle too much or you’ll warm up the butter with your fingers and your dough will be soft and harder to work with).
– Add the buttermilk all at once and mix a few times with a spatula or dough scraper. Before dry ingredients are completely combined, add the fruit. Finish the mixing all together (this way you avoid over-mixing), then scrape out onto a floured board or table.
– Working quickly, divide the mix into two equal masses and pat out (use flour as necessary to keep from sticking…this is messy!) into circles about 8 inches diameter and 1 1/2 inches high. Cut each into 8 wedges and use a bench scraper or flat spatula to move onto the lined sheet trays, leaving at least 1 ½ inches between scones (they grow!). Bake for about 20 minutes until nicely browned on the bottom (use a spatula to lift a middle one up to check).
-Meanwhile, make your glaze:
1 ½ c powdered sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
-Mix together and put aside until scones come out of the oven. Add splash (literally) of water if it’s not a brush-able consistency. Brush quickly onto warm scones to get a shiny, transparent glaze.
Scones keep at room temperature for a day, or can be frozen for up to 3 weeks, well-wrapped.
To improve your scone (& biscuit) making in general: Pre-weigh dry ingredients and cube butter and store in the fridge the night before to make early morning scone satisfaction easy!
-Get trays lined and small equipment (spatulas, etc.) ready before you start, so you can work quickly while the dough is cold. The warmer it gets, the messier the whole job becomes.
– Let cut scones rest on their trays in the fridge if possible, 10 or 15 minutes. This allows for the grain to absorb the moisture more completely and the scones hold their shape better. They’re still beautiful and delicious if you miss this step, but it’s nice if you can do it.