Today I am bringing you one of the most comforting, toasty, tender baked goods I have ever made, not to mention one of the easiest. In the last week I have made this recipe no less than four times and I don’t think I will get tired of it any time soon. Other members of the household have been discovered wandering through the kitchen muttering “so good” searching frantically for more. I am telling you — these are fantastic. Plus you do the entire thing with your hands, which just feels so rustic and right. I’m tempted to stop typing right this second and go make another batch but I really want to get these out to you before the weekend.
Last week, I received a gorgeously packaged box of Warren Pears from Frog Hollow Farms and I knew immediately that I need to figure out how to really highlight their flavor. I tried a few cocktails, which were good but not great. And I made #10 from my list of ways to cook with pears, which was divine. But I wanted to try something new.
Then I thought of scones, thinking that baking them would keep the flavor and remove the texture issues I have with pears. I wanted to bring the vanilla and honey flavors forward without masking them with additional spices like cinnamon (though that would be delicious and I did try that with the Opal apples I posted about yesterday). Thyme is one of my favorite herbs and seemed like it would be a perfect compliment without taking anything away from the lovely Warrens. I also added some cheddar to really punch things up. When you eat these you really can’t detect the cheddar specifically because it all just combines so well. If you don’t want the cheese for some reason, just leave it out. The oats give the earthy support that brings the spiciness out of the pears out. You could easily make this with any pear or apple you have though. I guarantee it will still be great.
This recipe is insanely easy for a baked good. You don’t need to be overly precise and nothing has to come to room temperature first or be refrigerated for 2 hours, etc. Feel free to double or quadruple it if you are making them for more people than just yourself (and you definitely should). I just wanted a simple weekend recipe for my small family. I added a few ideas for playing with the flavors and texture a bit. Let me know if you try it and what you tried. I’d love to hear about it.
Pear or Apple Thyme Scones
Make 4 scones
- 2 1/2 tablespoons milk (or buttermilk)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (omit if using buttermilk)
- 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour (If you remove a tsp or so the texture is even lighter)
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (If you remove a tsp or so the texture is even lighter)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup pear or apple, (peeled or unpeeled) chopped in to 1/4 inch squares
- Additional sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small cup or bowl combine the milk and lemon juice and let sit (or you can substitute buttermilk and skip this step completely, but I never have buttermilk).
- Chop the butter in to small squares about a 1/4 inch and put back in the refrigerator.
- In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and thyme. Get all other ingredients ready because the rest is done with your hands and will get messy.
- Toss the dry ingredients until well combined. Add the butter and rub together with your fingers. You want a crumbly mixture with no pieces larger than a pea. Once you feel you’ve sufficiently mixed it, flatten any larger pieces of butter.
- Add the cheddar and toss with your fingers to distribute. You don’t want the cheese to stick together in big clumps.
- Add pears (or apples if using) and the milk/lemon mixture (or buttermilk). Massage gently just until the dough comes together in a sticky mess.
- Form four small balls of dough and place at least an inch or two apart on the parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly.
- Sprinkle the top of each scone lightly with additional sugar.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes. They are done when golden brown and your kitchen is fragrant with toasty scone scent.
- Let cool on wire racks for about 15 minutes. Every minute of this is pure torture but it does make the texture set up the best.
Make 4 scones (If you double the recipe remove a full tablespoon each from the cups of flour and oats)
- Try substituting gorgonzola for the cheddar cheese and omit the sugar topping.
- Use turbinado sugar on top to add crunch
- Omit cheese and thyme, add 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon instead. Use brown sugar instead of white.
- Try fresh tarragon instead of thyme.
- Remove the cheese, thyme and pieces of fruit completely and add 1/2 teaspoon citrus zest. Use the juice of the citrus instead of the lemon juice (I just did this with Bergamot and it was great.)