Monday, November 5, 2012

Pear and Ginger Scones

Take the leap. Live more simply so you can work less. Pursue your passion. Do what comes naturally. These are all things that have been running through my head lately. I read Ginny Wood's book this summer, what an amazing life that woman has lead. I was already a little familiar with her story from having worked in Kantishna, but I had no idea the depth of it all. What really struck a chord was were she talked about living her life more simply so she could work less and do more of what she loved. Despite that sentiment, the woman worked really hard, yet she never made it sound like work at all. I think that is what happens when you are doing the things you love, things look effortless.
My life has been terribly hectic lately, but I knew I wanted to capture a little of that magic that comes with doing something you love. This scone recipe seemed like the perfect way to ease myself back into this space. I was right, they came together beautifully and the flavor combination is one of the best yet. I love the beautiful color of the pears in the low Alaska light. I could see making these again for the holiday season with pears and dried cranberries. Sounds like the perfect thing for Thanksgiving breakfast. The great thing about scones is that you can make them in advance, freeze them, and then just put them in the oven straight from the freezer when you need them. I'm actually convinced that they bake up just a little bit nicer after they have been frozen. Just place the unbaked scones on a baking sheet in the freezer for a few hours, once they are frozen transfer to a freezer bag. You can then make one or two at a time, or the whole batch when you need them for a special event. They might take a few minutes longer to bake, but you will have very little to clean up afterward.
Pear and Ginger Scones
adapted from Standard Baking Co. Pastries 

3/4 cup chopped dried pears
1 egg plus one egg yolk 
2/3 cup half and half 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Topping:
Whisk together 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon in a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place chopped pears in a 2 cup measuring cup or medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for about 15 minutes to rehydrate. Drain and set aside to cool while you make the scones.
In a 1 cup measuring cup or small bowl whisk together the egg and yolk, half and half, and vanilla.  In a large bowl combine flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Break up any chunks of brown sugar. Add the cubed butter to the flour and use your fingers to break up and work in the butter. For flakier scones work the butter into long, flat pieces. A few larger pea sized pieces of butter are fine. Add the half and half mixture to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or mix with your hands until the flour is fully moistened. You can use some kneading motions to make sure everything gets incorporated, but don't overwork the dough or your scones will be tough.  With your hands, fold in the drained pears and ginger until they are distributed throughout. Turn mixture out onto a wooden cutting board and pat to a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar topping. Cut into 8 wedges and place on a parchment covered baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet half way through. Remove from oven when they are golden brown on top. Cool slightly before serving.


2 comments:

  1. These look so good! Do you think you could use fresh pears instead of dried?

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    Replies
    1. I think the dough would be way too wet and turn out to be an entirely different texture with fresh pears for this recipe. I do have another scone recipe that uses fresh pears here: http://arcticgardenstudio.blogspot.com/2011/11/whole-wheat-pear-and-hazelnut-scones.html#more

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