Monday, May 11, 2009

A Pancake Does Not a Scone Make - Rhubarb Almond Scones

I love rhubarb. I wait, all year it seems, for it to finally appear at the market. And as soon as it does, I begin plotting all the different ways I can use it. My current favorite is to eat it after it's been baked in simple syrup with a heaping scoop of fresh ricotta. It makes for a heavenly dessert. There's also a rhubarb peach gallette that I like to turn out again and again throughout the summer. But since the success of those strawberry scones a few weeks ago, I thought it might be appropriate for rhubarb to have it's very own scone. My friend Lesley kindly donated her kitchen, and I took a short road trip up to Sacramento for a much needed visit/baking session.

Our combined efforts brought three, count 'em, three batches of scones in order to come up with an acceptable rhubarb scone recipe. I felt sure such a thing could be found online. It could not. The first batch is not terrible to look at, nor terrible to eat, not by any stretch of the imagination, but that batch was decidedly un-scone like. "They're like pancakes!" my friend Lesley exclaimed. I had to concur, pancake/cake/cookie like things. Definitely not scones.

They may look innocent, but these are impostor scones!

I'll spare you the recipe, and hence, the grief, the pain and heartache of trying to force that runny, sloppy mess onto your baking sheet. I knew things didn't look right after combining all the ingredients. The runny batter sloshing in the bottom of the bowl. However, if you happen to have a craving for a rhubarb pancake in the future, I can help you out, just let me know.

Now this is more like it! Second batch = success!

And so, with a craving for rhubarb like the likes of which Lesley's kitchen had not seen, we pressed onwards. Reverting back to Molly Wizenberg's Strawberry Scone recipe, with just a few adjustments. When you find one that works, might as well stick with it! And finally, a decent rhubarb scone! Thank goodness for adaptable recipes!

Rhubarb Almond Scones
adapted from Molly Wizenberg's "A Homemade Life"

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp (half a stick) of cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup of sugar (I upped this from 3 tbsp to counter the sourness of the rhubarb)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh chopped rhubarb
1 tsp almond extract (it goes so well with the rhubarb, but can be omitted if need be)
1/2 cup half-and-half, plus more for glazing
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 425. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt . Using your hands, rub the butter into the mixture, pinching and squeezing until there are no lumps bigger than a pea. Add sugar and lemon zest, whisk to incorporate.

Pour 1/2 cup half-and-half into a small bowl and add the egg. Beat together well. Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine. Using your hands, squeeze and press the dough into a rough mass. Add the rhubarb and almond extract and combine with your hands. Turn the dough and any excess flour onto a cutting board or counter and knead until it just comes together. No more than 12 times, you don't want to overwork the dough. As soon as it holds together, pat it into a rough circle about 1 inch thick. Cut the circle into 8 wedges.

Place the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment, or a silpat. Pour a splash of half-and-half into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the scones with a thin coat to glaze. Bake 10-14 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, serve warm with butter. If you're serving them later, heat the oven to 300 and re-heat the scones for a few minutes


  1. yum! i believe these were a special request! ;) did any make it back to the east bay?

  2. In fact they did! Perhaps we should have them with the fish tacos tomorrow night?