Saturday, April 9, 2011

Butternut Sage Scones

2 cups (about 9 ounces or 255 grams) all purpose unbleached flour (King Arthur brand preferred)
6 T granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top of scones
1 T baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
scant 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 T cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup butternut squash puree (see below for directions)
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing on top of scones
1 large egg
8 small sage leaves

Optional: cinnamon drizzle, 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage

Preparing the butternut squash puree:
Pierce a medium butternut squash all over with a fork or tip of a knife. Place on microwave-safe dish and cook on high for about 1/2 hour, turning every ten minutes or so, until soft and mushy. Cut squash down the middle. If it’s still hard in the middle, nuke it a little more. Scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop out the soft squash, mash it a bit, and place in a mesh strainer over a bowl. Let drain for a couple hours, or overnight. Depending on the size of your butternut, you’ll probably have extra squash, as this recipe only uses 1/2 cup. Make soup with the rest. Or double the scone recipe. And make a little less soup.

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Preparing the cinnamon drizzle:
Mix 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add 2 tablespoons warm water. Stir until smooth. If too thick, add more water. If not cinnamon-y enough, add more cinnamon. It should be thick like corn syrup. Set aside.

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Preparing the scones:

Note: When measuring flour, fluff with a whisk, scoop it up with a spoon, sprinkle it into the measuring cup, and sweep off the top with the flat edge of a knife or spatula. Weighing the flour, eliminates the need for this.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, place the dry ingredients and the chopped sage, and pulse to combine.

Add the butter, and pulse about 10 or so times. You want to retain some small pieces of butter. Transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl. If you've got some really large butter lumps, just squish them with the back of a fork.

In a large measuring cup, place the squash, egg and heavy cream. Mix well. Pour into flour mixture. With a dinner fork, fold the wet into the dry as you gradually turn the bowl. It’s a folding motion you’re shooting for, not a stirring motion. When dough begins to gather, use a plastic bowl scraper to gently knead the dough into a ball shape.

Transfer the dough ball to a floured board. Gently pat into a 6-inch circle. With a pastry scraper or large chef’s knife, cut into 8 triangles.

Place the scones on a wax paper-lined sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once they are frozen, you can store them in a plastic freezer bag for several weeks.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place frozen scones on a parchment-lined sheet pan, about 1 inch apart. Brush with cream. Take the whole sage leaves, brush front and back with cream and place on tops of scones. Sprinkle tops of scones with sugar.
Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning pan halfway through. They are done when a wooden skewer comes out clean. When cool, drizzle with cinnamon glaze.

Enjoy with clotted cream and jam, or sweet butter, or plain. They can be warmed the following day in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds. They freeze really well, too, and can be reheated in a 350 degree F oven until warm.


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