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Cream Scones for Daring Bakers…

January 27, 2012

You know those days where you have everything, but nothing occupying your mind? I’m having one of those days.

I’ve started to write this post four times already with no luck. The last time had me looking back on a string of adjectives (nonsense really) without memory of writing it.

It’s not often that such things completely consume my mind, but I’m seconds away from philosophizing about life’s troubles (which I’m sure you didn’t come here to ponder) so instead, lets just have scones.

You o.k with that? I hope you are. These are some excellent scones. In the next few minutes, scones trump troubles.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

He did a terrific job with this recipe. Quick and easy and oh so good.

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)  (Challenge recipe, go to the Daring Kitchen for variations)
Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled

1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

Roasted Strawberry & Balsamic Ice Cream…

January 16, 2012

Well it seems Summer has finally arrived.

I can’t say I’m too happy about that weather wise. Nearly reached 40°C/104°F today. Luckily I was off from work which meant I could chill in the pool and generally just laze around.

I did spend a bit of time in the kitchen making sorbet and popsicles though (the part I am happy with about Summer).

So to celebrate the happy parts of Summer, we’re having ice cream (what else?).

Roasted Strawberry & Balsamic Ice Cream:

Serves: 6 – 8

  • 300 g strawberries
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) castor sugar
  • 3 C (750 ml) fresh cream (divided)
  • 1 C (250 ml) full cream milk
  • 1 C (210 g) castor sugar
  • 10 egg yolks

Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300°F. Hull and slice the strawberries into quarters. Place into a roasting pan and sprinkle the balsamic vinegar and 45 ml castor sugar on top.

Roast for 30 – 40 minutes until strawberries are soft and have darkened in colour.

Remove from the oven and mash them lightly with a fork.

Transfer to a separate bowl and chill in the fridge until needed.

Whisk the egg yolks and 1 cup of castor sugar together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Place 1 cup of cream into a large mixing bowl and set a strainer on top. Set aside.

Combine the 2 remaining cups of cream and the milk in a small saucepan.

Heat over medium heat until just simmering.

Add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture a little at a time, stirring constantly.

Pour back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.

Strain the mixture into the set aside cream and stir to combine.

Add the chilled strawberry mixture and stir to combine.

Chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions OR place into a freezer bowl and chill for 1 hour. Remove from the freezer and beat with an electric beater until smooth. Return to the freezer and take out to beat every 30 minutes until the ice cream is thick and smooth (soft serve consistency). Return to the freezer until ready to serve.

Serve with: Chopped strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar or chocolate sauce.

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

December 26, 2011

This is just a short post to say…

Well, Merry Christmas! :) But also..

Check out what you can do with leftovers… Christmas Pudding Ice Cream.

Yeah probably the only way I will eat it. Sorry to all of you who love the stuff but I just can’t do it.

This however, is not half bad. I ate two scoops and I enjoyed them which (trust me) says a lot.

Plus, it’s easy.

Here’s what you do…

1. Don’t feed your leftover christmas pudding to the dirt bin. Or the dog.

2. Crumble said christmas pudding into a bowl and pour a little brandy over the top. Allow it to soak it up for a few minutes.

3. Stir said christmas pudding into some slightly softened vanilla ice cream (homemade or store-bought) and re-freeze.

4. Well, there is no step 4. It’s that easy.

Got leftovers? Do it.