A few weeks ago, I was chatting it up with my friend Jane—that’s Jane Zappia the proprietor of Pop’s Pies—as we were on our way to see one of our favorite farmers, Bruce Haas, the owner of Daydream Farm in Greenville, IL. We were almost giddy because Bruce’s amazing green apples had come in, and it was a bumper crop. Bruce brought his entire haul to the Land of Goshen Community Market—the Fujis, the Delicious, the Gala….oh, the mouthwatering recipes Jane and I were contemplating.
For Jane, of course, the word was PIE. She was planning to put up her favorite roasted apple filling, which is a top seller on her website and at the market during the summer. And believe it or not, she was willing to share the roasted apple technique with me! It pays to have talented and generous friends. I have incorporated those rich and caramelized apples into the scones we are exploring in this post.
Scones are so versatile—good for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert depending on how they are made. They can be rich and sweet or super savory. I make a lot of scones because they are quick, easy to master and the basic scone recipe is a wonderful blank canvass for a million different creations. There are only a couple rules: a wet dough (mixed with a bit of bravery) is essential, and a high-fat content is strongly recommended; I have never met a low-fat scone I could tolerate. If you want low fat, have a cracker.
Only one last thing about those apples: Jane’s recipe is adjustable for taste, so you are getting my version. You’ll have to buy her pies to get her version. (I’m sure that won’t be hard.) But since scones, like pastry crust, depend on cold ingredients, I really recommend roasting your apples a day or two before you make your scones and chill them in the fridge until you need them. You’ll only need a heaping half-cup of chopped roasted apples for this recipe, but I say make a casserole dish full—amazing on ice cream, super on pancakes, and yummy just by themselves. You’ll think of something.
- One pound tart or semi-sweet apples, about four large apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
- Fresh lemon juice to keep your apple slices from browning
- Two to three tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste
- Generous sprinkle coarse sea salt, to taste
- Four tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in tiny cubes
- One cup whole wheat pastry flour
- Three-quarters cup cake flour (I trust King Arthur .)
- Two and one-quarter teaspoons baking powder
- One tablespoon light brown sugar
- One-half teaspoon salt
- Two tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and frozen
- Two tablespoons Earth Balance Original Coconut Spread, cut in small pieces and frozen with the butter (Note that you can use all butter, if you wish, but I think this combo makes the best scones.)
- Two eggs, beaten well and kept cold
- One-third cup heavy cream
- One half-cup of your roasted apple mixture roughly chopped—syrup and all, (Must be well chilled)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare your apples and toss the slices with fresh lemon juice to keep them pretty. Combine the apples with the syrup, and salt. Note that if you are a cinnamon fan, the fragrant spice would work well here. Place this mixture in a buttered casserole dish in a single shallow layer. Dot all over with the butter—use more than four tablespoons if need be to evenly dot the apples.
- Roast for about 40 minutes, giving them a good stir halfway through. Once the apples are bubbly and caramelizing, remove from the oven and let cool until you can store in the fridge. Or until someone just eats them when you aren’t looking—just sayin’.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Whisk together the flours, baking powder, brown sugar and salt.
- Using a pastry blender, cut in the frozen butter and coconut spread cubes. You are looking for a fairly consistent texture resembling coarse sand. Do not let the butter and coconut spread begin to melt.
- Reserve two tablespoons of the cold beaten eggs and combine the rest with the cold heavy cream, whisking well with a fork. Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture and add the egg/cream mixture. Use a rubber spatula to help you fold everything together quickly, trying to handle the dough as little as possible.
- Once it is coming together as a ball, transfer it to a well-floured surface and knead a couple of strokes. Now carefully and quickly work in the chilled apple mixture, syrup and all, and form it all into a quarter-inch thick circle. This pastry disk will be sticky and wet, but that's ok. Be brave.
- Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the scones into eight triangles. Again, this dough will be wet and sticky, press on. Triangles don’t have to be perfect—no one will notice. Place each triangle on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (The bench scraper can be a big help here to lift and transfer those sticky triangles.)
- Before placing in the oven, take a little extra cream and a pastry brush and coat the top of each scone. Sprinkle with raw sugar for a little extra sparkle.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, until scones puff up and brown.
We served these scones for breakfast. Don thinks there is no better way to eat them but with a side of deer bacon–a gift from Jane’s daughter Laura, huntress extraordinaire! But they’d make a lovely addition to your dessert table, too. Especially good served warm, they are just the thing for curling up by the fire and sipping cider…with maybe just a little shot of smooth bourbon? What’s in your scone? And your cider?