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A couple weeks ago when we were up north, visiting the kids, we made another visit to the Burrville Cider Mill. We try to get there every fall – it’s a fun outing with the grandkids, because they have a lovely water fall [which at one time powered their press, though I don’t think it still does], tons of apples and other fall fruit to buy – and, this may be the best part – Apple Cider Doughnuts, which are SO good.
I had already bought some apples just a few days before we went up, so I didn’t need to buy more of those, but I did pick up a peck of bosc-type pears that have since been transporting me to heaven with every bite. I can hardly wait for our pears trees to begin producing fruit. Until they do though, I will get along quite nicely with pears like these. They are good for baking, because even when they get ripe and sweet they retain some crispness, which helps them keep their shape for poaching or roasting. They were a fine match for the chai tea inspired flavors in these scones, because here too, they kept some substance during baking so you get nice little bursts of fresh pear in the rich, buttery sweet biscuit.
For spices here, I used those that give chai tea it’s unique flavor – black tea, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice and nutmeg. I had to make a coupe batches to get the proportions just right, and I used black pepper in the first attempt, but ended up leaving it out, since it left a little bit too much of a peppery finish in your mouth – you can add some back in, if you think you will like it.You are going to need about a cup of diced pear – one or two pears, depending on the size.Scones are made by what is referred to as the “biscuit method”, which is when you combine dry ingredients with a fat – in this case, butter, and then add a liquid, stirring gently, as little as possible, to keep the scones from being tough, instead of flaky.
Chai Pear Scones
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- black tea from one regular size tea bag, rubbed between fingertips until finely crumbled
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 ounces chilled butter cup in small cubes
- 1 cup diced pear
- 1 cup very cold buttermilk [shake well before measuring]
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a heavy baking sheet with parchment, or oil the 12 spots where the scones will go.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
- Use a pastry cutter or two table knives to cut in the butter - it should resemble coarse crumbs - some little bits of butter should still be visible.
- Taking care not to over-mix, fold in the diced pear and the buttermilk.
- Spread a bit of flour on your work surface, and scrape dough out on top. Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour, and flour your hands.
- Gently pat the dough into a rectangle, about 6 by 8 inches, squaring edges and corners so they will be nice and straight.
- Use a bench scraper or long knife to cut into 12 squares, making 3 cuts along the 8 inch side and 2 along the 6 inch side. You can also cut them with a round biscuit cutter, or cut in triangles.
- Place on the sheet and brush the tops lightly with buttermilk, for a nicely browned, glossy top.
- Bake for 17 minutes or so, until done and nicely browned. Cool on a rack.
They are best served warm, and can be reheated in the oven, wrapped in foil
We love them with butter, jam, applesauce, or a combination, but even plain, they are rich and satisfying.Enjoy!