Sunday, June 13, 2010

Strawberry Barley Scones

The recipe feeds two of my recent obsessions: Good to the Grain and strawberries from the farmer's market. While Kim Boyce has recipes for Strawberry Jam and Three-Citrus Marmalade in her book, I used the Strawberry Preserves I made last weekend, which are almost identical to her recipe (no pectin; cook fruit mixture to 210 degrees, using a candy thermometer).

Most grocery stores are not going to have barley flour. Even Whole Foods, where I got barley flour out of the bulk section, didn't have it bags from it from Arrowhead Mills or Bob's Red Mill, as I would have expected. They have all kinds of other seldom-used flours (a few of which I also bought), but no bags of barley flour for some reason. You may have to do a little hunting around at natural foods and gourmet grocery stores to find it, but it's definitely worth it to make these scones. The crunchy top coating gives way to a crumbly and moist center with the perfect amount of sweet strawberry jam. They're best warm out of the oven, but I plan on freezing the extras and heating them in the toaster oven this week for breakfast (I wouldn't use a microwave).

Strawberry Barley Scones
from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Barley flour has a distinctly sweet, creamy quality that taste great with fruit. This recipe sandwiches a generous smear of jam between two disks of dough. When the scone bakes, the jam thickens, even caramelizing a little around the edges. Strawberry Jam is delightful in these scones, as is Three-Citrus Marmalade, or you can use a purchased jam of your choice.

The moist dough and the small irregular bits of butter are responsible for these tender scones. Resist the urge to add more flour to the dough that you need-it should be sticky but manageable. A generously floured surface will help these scones come together.

Dry Mix:
1 c. plus 2 T. barley flour
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. dark brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1.25 t. kosher salt

Wet Mix:
4 oz. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 egg

1/2 c. Strawberry Jam or Three-Citrus Marmalade
1 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 T. sugar

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Rub a baking sheet lightly with butter. 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.

2. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces and add them to dry mixture. Use your hands to rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is in sizes ranging from rice grains to flattened peas. The more quickly you do this, the more the butter stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until thoroughly combined. Scrape the buttermilk and egg into the dry mixture, and mix until barely combined.

4. Use a pastry scraper or spatula to transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. The dough may be too sticky to handle; if it is, dust it with flour and fold it together a few times. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flour your hands and pat each piece of dough into a disk about 3/4-inch thick and 7 inches in diameter.

5. Cover one disk with the jam or marmalade. Top the spread with the other disk and press down gently so that the dough settles into the jam. Brush the dough lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Use a sharp knife to slice the circle into 8 triangular wedges, like a pie. Carefully place the wedges on a baking sheet, leaving a few inches between them.

6. Bake the scones for 22 to 26 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The scones are ready when their tops are golden brown and some of the jam or marmalade has bubbled over onto the pan. To keep the scones from sticking to the pan, slide a thin spatula underneath them while they're still warm and move them to a baking rack. The scones are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day.

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