Adapted by Sarah Phillips from Pastry Chef Matthew Rosenzweig from www.theflakytart.com; Food Styling and Photos by www.theflakytart.com © 9-28-2016 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
When the seasons turn from summer to autumn, and pears become available at the farmers' market, it's a perfect time to make Pear Ginger Scones. These scones are made flaky by "cutting in" cold butter into the flour and excluding eggs which would make them more cake-like. Ugly pears or those with blemishes and bruises work just as well as perfect ones for baking; make sure they are ripe or even overripe ones work well. We like to use Bartlett pears in our scones, with crystallized ginger and ground ginger for plenty of spice. The secret to flaky scones is to not overwork the butter into the flour ingredients; just process until the flour mixture is like coarse cornmeal flecked with small butter pieces. Plus, do not overhandle the dough, rush the formed scones into a hot oven, and then serve while warm!
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into measuring cup and level to rim, plus extra for dusting hands
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (1 cup or 2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes; after cutting into cubes, rechill until cold
2 - 3 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled and cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
raw cane sugar, for sprinkling on tops before baking
1. Position an oven shelf to the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set out a small bowl of flour for dusting hands.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade, add flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt. Run the processor until the ingredients are evenly combined.
3. Place the cold butter cubes in food processor bowl on top of the flour ingredients. Pulse until flour mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. You should see tiny flacks of butter in the mixture. Do not over process.
(Butter can also be cut in with pastry blender, two knives, or fingers).
Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add pears and crystallized ginger to flour mixture and toss well with hands.
5. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, heavy cream and vanilla.
6. In the flour mixture bowl, use a fork to make a well (hollow out a little circular space in the center at the bottom of the bowl).
Add the buttermilk mixture to well, and using the fork, draw the flour mixture into the liquid bit by bit until just mixed.
When dough just starts to hold together but is still crumbly and uneven, use your hands to press gently and toss dough to incorporate the last of the dry ingredients. Do not overmix!
7. With flour-dusted hands, form dough into approximately 1/2-cup-size balls. Space evenly on prepared pans. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
8. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Scones should be browned and firm in the center; press lightly on top to test.
9. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes on pan before serving.
Serve warm or cooled. Scones are best served right away or within a few hours of making.
Scones are best served the day they are made, ideally warm from the oven, but can be reheated at 350 degrees F. for a few minutes. If you have extras, let them cool thoroughly and wrap in plastic wrap, place in an airtight plastic bag or container, and freeze. They'll stay good for about a month. To reheat, let them thaw in their wrapping at room temperature, unwrap, and warm in a 350 degrees F. oven for 5 minutes.