I think I have a lot in common with Winnie the Pooh. For one thing, I used to love to play pooh sticks with my son if ever we were on a bridge with a river flowing below (O.K., you will have to check out Milne's The House at Pooh Corner for this one). But also, because I often hear a little voice in my head that says, to paraphrase Pooh, "I think I need a smackarel of something." For Pooh, that "smackerel" was honey. For me, today, my craving has been satisfied by this recipe for Currant scones with spelt.
I adapted a recipe that is in Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce. I like to use whole grains when baking, in order to make healthier treats. This cookbook takes an interesting approach to cooking with whole grains. The chapters are broken up by highlighting each grain separately. Since I had a container of spelt flour in my freezer, I went to the spelt chapter and found this recipe for Currant scones with spelt.
Boyce does a good job of introducing each grain on the page preceding the recipes. As to spelt, she has this to say:
Baked goods made with spelt have a soft and tender crumb, but with enough structure to hold up to additional ingredients, such as the generous amount of shredded carrots in the Carrot Muffins. The carrots also provide the additional moisture needed when baking with spelt flour."Good to the Grain, Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood.
While I did not make the carrot muffins, the Currant scones with spelt have chopped up bits of dried fruit in them. I am sure that the dried fruit added to the moisture and fluffiness of these scones. So light and fluffy, they tasted like little pillows of clouds to me. The opposite of most scones I have eaten, which are often quite heavy and dense.
It has been raining for days on end in Brooklyn. Not light rains that you wouldn't mind walking through while holding an umbrella over your head. These have been monsoon like rains. Torrential. They sky is gray, and the branches of the trees in my garden lean toward the ground under the weight of having been relentlessly beaten down. Playing in the background is a WTF with Marc Maron Podcast in which he interviews Eve Ensler and discusses her new book, called Apology. I recommend that you listen to it sometime.
I think of India, and what real monsoons are like. At least my basement is dry and I am not walking down seventh avenue knee deep in water. Blessings to all the people of the world experiencing the actual consequences of global warming.
If you too are experiencing a Spring of belated April showers, and the weather is just getting you down, or even if like Pooh, you just need a smackerel of something to eat, try this recipe for Currant scones with spelt, and enjoy!
Current scones with spelt
I am going to include the recipe as it was actually written in the cookbook, "Good to the Grain," by Kim Boyce. If you want to freestyle this recipe, as I did, use ½ cup of non-fat Siggi's vanilla yogurt, and 1 cup skim milk for the liquids, instead of heavy cream. Also, instead of using currants, I chopped up an over-flowing ½ cup of dried fruit that I had on hand, which included medjool dates and some Turkish apricots. I used a box grater to cut up the ½ stick of butter, which made it all very easy peasy.
Boyce describes spelt as having an "underlying hint of ripe fruit [which] compliments the sweetness of the currants." Her description makes it enticing to try baking with spelt.
- 1-¼ Cup spelt flour
- 1 Cup all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 oz (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ Cup currants (or dried fruit of your choice, and add more if you so desire)
- 1-½ Cup heavy cream (I used ½ cup yogurt and 1 cup skim milk)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Rub two baking sheets with butter (I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper and rubbed the parchment paper with butter).
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring into the bowl any grains or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter. (true confession here, I did not sift my flours).
Add the butter to the dry ingredients. With your hands, work the butter, pinching it until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal. Add the currabts and stir to combine. Pour the cream into the bowl and stir the ingredients just until the flour is moistened throughout.
Separate the dough into 9 mounds on the baking sheets leaving about 4 inches between the mounds. (true confession #2, I used a smaller baking sheet and crowded my mounds a bit, with no huge consequences). Use your hands to break up any large heaps of dough and to tuck in the crumbs. (My dough was quite moist. I scooped up a decent sized mound and plopped it in place on the baking sheet).
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. You'll know these scones are done when the tops and bottoms turn golden brown. The scones are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day. (I recommend you set an alarm on your smart phone if you have one, to time the baking. I have an old plastic timer, and sometimes it never rings).