Tuesday, 13 August 2013
I have been getting a lot of these honey apricots lately. They are sweet, ready-to-eat snacks for my kids. I don't have to spend time cutting the fruits and unlike juicy fruits, I have no worries of my boy dripping juices all over the couch ;)
My younger child finds it a joy eating these tiny, peachy scented fruits. To him, it is a great accomplishment being able to split the apricot butts into halves with his bare hands.
Weekend mornings are the best time for me to indulge in some freshly home baked scones.
Having baked some apricots square cakes with canned apricots, it is hardly surprising that I started experimenting baking with fresh apricots. The firm texture is certainly a plus point to include them in my weekend baking repertoire.
I prepared the 'dry ingredients' the night before...cutting the butter into the flour mixture before leaving it in the fridge to chill overnight. The following morning, while the oven was preheating, all I needed to do was to add in some coarsely chopped apricots and the liquid ingredients to mix up the dough.
I have a batch of scones baking in the oven in no time. It was a luxurious morning, for me, to be engulfed in the wonderful buttery aroma of scones baking in the oven while I went about rounding up everyone for breakfast.
The fruity flavour of the honey apricots lends a subtly sweetness to these awesome breakfast treats. I usually have my scones plain. I believe homemade scones are delicious without having to load it with any jam or clotted cream. However, this time, I spotted some leftover yuzu syrup in my fridge and it went really well with the scones, giving a nice tangy touch.
There is nothing like having a basket of warm-buttery scones on a Sunday morning. It is a great way to kick start the day...enjoying tender, fluffy scones with a cup of steaming hot tea or a mug of coffee. I could almost imagine myself sipping tea in the Cameronian Valley...
(makes about 6 scones)
220g cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
30g caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
80g unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
3~4 fresh apricots, wash, pitted and coarsely chopped
110g egg yolk and milk mixture (combine 1 egg yolk with enough fresh whole milk to make up amount)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- Sieve cake flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add in caster sugar, salt, whisk to combine. Place cold, diced unsalted butter into mixing bowl. With a fork or a dough scraper, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. (It is important that the butter be cold so when it is cut into the flour mixture it becomes small, flour-coated crumbs. If the butter starts to melt away during this process, stop and place the mixture in the freezer for 10-15 mins to prevent the butter from melting further. Continue the process when the mixture is well chilled.)
- Add in chopped fresh apricots. Mix to combine.
- Make a well in the centre and add in the yolk and milk mixture and vanilla extract (if using). Fold with a spatula just a few times to make the mixture comes together to form a shaggy mass.
- Gather up the mixture and place it on a lightly floured surface. Dust hand with flour and give it a few light kneading (not more than 10 seconds) so that it comes together to form a dough. Do Not over work the dough. (Only mix the dough until it comes together. Too much kneading will cause gluten to develop, and the resulting scones will turn hard and chewy. Knead only until the ingredients come together into a combined mass.)
- On a lightly floured surface, dust your hands and the dough with some flour and pat the dough to about 1 inch thick (avoid using too much flour). Cut out the dough with a lightly floured 2.5-inch biscuit cutter (I use a drinking glass). Press the cutter directly down and lift it straight up without twisting. Dip the cutter into some flour after each cut. Gather scraps together and repeat until all the dough is used. (For easy cleaning and to prevent sticking, I lined my work surface with cling wrap, it is also easier to lift up the scones after cutting.)
- Place scones on baking tray (lined with parchment paper).Brush the tops with some milk.
- Bake at preheated oven at 200 degC for about 25~30 mins or until they are well risen and the tops are lightly brown. Serve warm.