Thursday, December 14, 2017

Figgy Buckwheat Scones

It had been a while since I baked from Good to the Grain, but when I wanted to use some buckwheat flour (since I now have two kinds in my pantry), that’s the first place I turned. I made these figgy scones not once but twice! The first time, I followed the recipe, and the second time, I used a 50/50 mix of light and dark buckwheat flour. . I actually preferred the first batch, with all dark buckwheat (as in the photo on top; the bottom photo is the one with both types of flour). These were really good, and they freeze well!

Note that the recipe for fig butter, which is actually like a fig jam, makes enough for two batches of scones. You can do what I did and make two batches (and freeze some), or halve the fig butter recipe, or use leftover fig butter as jam on toast or bagels or waffles.

For the fig butter (makes 2 cups; see note above)
½ cup sugar
2 whole cloves
1 star anise
1 cup red wine
½ cup port
12 oz. (340 g.) dried Black Mission figs, stems removed
¼ tsp. cinnamon
4 oz. (½ cup or 1 stick) lactose-free butter or margarine, softened

To poach the figs, measure ¼ cup water and the sugar into a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon, incorporating the sugar without splashing it up the sides. If crystals do get on the sides of the pot, use a clean pastry brush dipped in water to wipe them off. (The goal is to prevent the syrup from crystallizing.)

Add the cloves and star anise. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium flame and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the syrup is amber-colored. For even coloring, the flame should not come up around the outside of the pot.

Add the red wine, port, figs, and cinnamon, standing back a bit, as the syrup is hot. Don't panic when the syrup hardens; this is the normal reaction when liquids are added to hot sugar. Continue cooking the mixture over a medium flame for 2 minutes, until the sugar and wine blend.

Reduce the flame to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The figs will burble quietly as they are jostled together by the flame; they are ready when the wine has reduced by half. Remove the pan from the stove and cool to room temperature.

Fish out the star anise and cloves. Pour the cooled figs, with their liquid, into a food processor and purée until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the softened butter to the fig paste and process until smooth. The fig butter can be spread right onto the buckwheat scone dough or stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. If it is refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before using.

For the scones (makes 12 scones)
1 cup (135 g.) buckwheat flour
1 ¼ cups (160 g.) all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
4 oz. (½ cup or 1 stick) cold lactose-free butter or margarine, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 ¼ cups lactose-free cream (I used coconut milk, and would consider using only 1 cup next time)
1 cup fig butter (see recipe above)

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.

Add the butter to the dry mixture. Rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is coarsely ground and feels like grains of rice. The faster you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe. (I did this in the food processor.)

Add the cream and gently mix it into the flour with a spatula until the dough is just combined.

Use a pastry scraper or a spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. It will be sticky, so flour your hands and pat the dough into a rectangle. Grab a rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle that is 8 inches wide, 16 inches long, and ¾ inch thick. If at any time the dough rolls off in a different direction, use your hands to square the corners and pat it back into shape. As you're rolling, periodically run a pastry scraper or spatula underneath to loosen the dough, flour the surface, and continue rolling. This keeps the dough from sticking. Flour the top of the dough if the rolling pin is sticking.

Spread the fig butter over the dough. Roll the long edge of the dough up, patting the dough as you roll so that it forms a neat log 16 inches long. Roll the finished log so that the seam is on the bottom and the weight of the roll seals the edge.

Use a sharp knife to slice the log in half. Put the halves on a baking sheet or plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (The dough can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days.) While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

After 30 minutes, take both logs out of the refrigerator and cut each half into 6 equal pieces about 1 ¼ inches wide. Place each scone flat, with the spiral of the fig butter facing up, on a baking sheet, 6 to a sheet. Give the scones a squeeze to shape them into rounds.

Bake for 38 to 42 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The scones are ready to come out when their undersides are golden brown. They are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day, though mine kept well for a few days at room temperature (that is, the ones that I didn’t freeze for later).


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