Thursday, June 28, 2012

Improvisational baking

As soon as I saw the picture of slab scones on Dinner with Julie’s blog, I was overwhelmed by the desire to make them. Do you ever get this way? That you want to cook something so badly that the adrenaline surge gives you a head rush? Maybe it’s just me? Some kind of little-known baking addiction/withdrawal? I’m not sure why I had that response to this particular recipe, which is, after all, for scones – something I’ve made about a thousand times before.

Not like this, though. There is just something so appealing about the idea of making something this way, with a layer of delicious filling in the middle. Why is this more alluring than mixing the same stuff all through the dough? I don’t know; maybe it’s the concentrated taste, contrasting with the scone texture, as opposed to having it scattered all through in bits? I haven’t analyzed it sufficiently; I just knew that it was a brilliant idea and that I was going to take the first excuse I could to make some.

An afterschool play date provided me with opportunity; then I just had to figure out how to work around my lack of equipment. These days I normally make scone dough in the food processor, because it takes me about 30 seconds and I don’t have to hassle with massaging butter into flour. Under the current circumstances, that option was obviously out, so I went to my next-best option: freezing the butter and then shredding it on a box grater. That way it’s already so small when it goes into the flour that it requires minimal additional work.

The other equipment issue, particular to this recipe, was rolling out the scone dough. I don’t have a rolling pin either, and I’m resisting the urge to buy one, since I already own at least four for this very reason. So I improvised: I filled an empty 1-litre bottle with water and put it in the freezer. Once frozen, it made a perfectly good makeshift rolling pin (if you don’t mind a little bit of a – shall we say rustic? – texture).

Julie’s recipe makes enough scone dough for two pieces of dough; I omitted the sugar so that I could make one savory (filled with about ½ cup of grated cheddar cheese and a couple of rashers of bacon, sliced thin and cooked until crisp) as well as one sweet (filled with about 6 tablespoons of raspberry jam). I got at least 6 big, triangular scones out of each slab, and they were a smash hit at the playdate. As my friend PJ pointed out, they are perfect for transporting, because you don’t need to bring anything extra for accompaniment; all the good stuff is already inside. Still warm, with a cup of tea alongside, they were just thing for a chilly Canberra winter afternoon. And would probably still make a nice snack (or breakfast) even if you’re among those sweltering somewhere in the northern hemisphere.


Julie said... Best Blogger Tips

So glad you liked them!! I just took one out of the freezer to warm up for breakfast!

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

@Julie I wish *I* had some in the freezer, but there weren't any left! I guess I'll just have to make another batch....

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