I’m a little bit in limbo at the moment. Some days, like today, I’m planning to spend most of the next two months travelling for work. Other days, like yesterday, someone else is doing all the travelling and I get to stay at home (which is much my preferred option).
I can’t tell you how many flights I’ve booked over the last few weeks only to cancel them a few hours later. For someone like me who can’t even go out for dinner without making a reservation, I find the uncertainty of not knowing which continent I will be working in next week quite hard to deal with let alone the prospect of being away from home for several weeks.
Clearly, if I was a proper grown up, I would make the most of the increasingly scarce amount of time that I have at home and not spend it moping around, feeling sorry for myself. But I’m not, so I am.
I can’t even muster much enthusiasm for a freshly baked scone, still warm from the oven. And when you can’t get excited about a scone, you know it’s bad.
I made these for breakfast last Saturday in the knowledge that it was probably one of our last weekends at home together for a few months. Over the years, my boyfriend as adapted my Saturday morning routine so we sat, as we usually do, on the sofa in our pyjamas, listening to the radio and reading the paper online. There was plenty of tea and, a little while after we got up, a plate of scones for us to nibble on.
Roasted pear and hazelnut brown butter scones
Adapted from these vanilla bean and espresso scones
Yield: Makes about 6 – 8 depending on size
I’ve seen this combination of pear and hazelnut a few times recently (like here!) which leads me to believe that it’s a very good thing. The idea of browning the butter in the scones I first came across in Good to the Grain and I was reminded by the technique by Beth’s cornmeal brown butter scones which I’m still dreaming about. The clever technique of roasting the pears before baking comes from Lindsey and it makes such a difference.
- 60g (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 3 medium pears, roughly cubed
- 125g (1 cup) white spelt flour
- 60g (1/2 cup) whole grain spelt flour
- 40g (3/8 cup) ground hazelnuts
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 120g (1/2 cup) plain yoghurt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A little more milk to brush on top before baking
First of all, make the brown butter. Place the butter in a small pan over a low heat and gently melt and bubble until golden brown. Allow the butter to cool to room temperature before pouring into a freezer-proof container and freezing until solid.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Bake the cubed pear for about 20 minutes or so until it is dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. I did both this step and browning the butter the night before to save time in the morning; I kept the roasted pear in the oven overnight.
Lightly whisk the flours, ground hazelnuts, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl. Chop the frozen brown butter into cubes and using a pastry cutter, cut it into the dry ingredients until it’s in pea-sized lumps.
In a separate bowl or, even better, a jug, lightly mix together the honey, yoghurt, milk and vanilla. Pour the liquid into your dry ingredients, add the roasted and bring everything together with a fork until you have a rough dough. You might need to use your hands to just bring it all together at the end. If it seems a little dry, you can add a splash of milk.
Gather the dough together and squash it down with your hands (I don’t bother with a rolling pin). Either cut out scone shapes or just shape them by hand. The secret is not to overwork the dough or twist the cutter too much as you use it as it may stop the scones from rising properly.
Brush with a little milk and then bake for 20 minutes or so until risen and golden.