Saturday, July 16, 2011

whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones

baked raspberry ricotta scones

This is the very first recipe I developed for my cookbook. It came as an accident — you would think that someone who spends as much time shopping for groceries as I do wouldn’t constantly run out of flour and cream mid-recipe but I’d surprise you — but I immediately fell in love with it and knew it needed a home in print. Over the last year, I made them whenever I’ve had an excuse and a few times that I didn’t. They fit so squarely within the vision I had for the book that when everything else felt impossible I’d think, “It’s okay. I’ve still got those whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones.” They made me happy.

I just read that back to myself and realize how weird it sounds. It’s been a weird year.

raspberries + flours
raspberries meeting their end

And then, just as quickly as I fell in love with them, I cast them aside for something else. One day in June, a day when I was playing around with breakfast recipes long after I promised I’d cut myself off, I made a new scone and without even blinking, swapped it in and kicked these to the curb. Poor scones; it’s not their fault they’re not the prettiest. They’re a bit craggy and their final shape is always hard to predict. The dough is messy — you cut raspberries right into it, like butter, but don’t worry, there is also butter — and it needs to be treated with a gentle hand. I had my reasons to give it the boot but still.

ricotta, heavy cream, yes

a mound of craggy dough

Raspberries showed up at the market last week and I realized how much I’ve missed these scones. We’ve talked a bit about ricotta this month but I can assure you, I used supermarket stuff for these. The homemade stuff is almost too awesome to tuck inside anything else. So, you’re looking for a soft, fairly moist ricotta (if you do make your own, don’t strain it as much). Some cream thins it out further. There’s half white flour, half whole wheat and enough butter that you don’t need to feel too austere. Mornings should at least a little bit indulgent and lazy.

shaped and cut
whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones

One year ago: Peach Blueberry Cobbler and Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons
Two years ago: Best Birthday Cake and Arugula Potato and Green Bean Salad
Three years ago: Chocolate Sorbet
Four years ago: Red Bean Chili and Double Chocolate Layer Cake

Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

The trickiest thing about these is the dampness of the dough. Yet that same trickiness is they bake into something that seems impossibly moist for a scone, and especially a whole wheat one. Keep your counter and your hands well floured and you won’t have any trouble getting them from bowl to counter to oven to belly, which, after all, is the whole point.

1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter
1 cup (136 grams or 4 3/4 ounces) fresh raspberries
3/4 cup (189 grams) whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup (79 ml) heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together.

With a pastry blender: Add the butter (no need to chop it first) and use the blender to both cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas. Toss in raspberries and use the blender again to break them into halves and quarter berry sized chunks.

Without a pastry blender: Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife and work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Roughly chop the raspberries on a cutting board and stir them into the butter-flour mixture.

Both methods: Add the ricotta and heavy cream together and stir them in to form a dough with a flexible spatula.Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t fret if the raspberries get muddled and smudge up the dough. This is a pretty thing.

With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter, flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square about 1-inch tall. With a large knife, divide the dough into 9 even squares. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. It’s best to cool them about halfway before eating them, so they can set a bit more. I know, way to be a big meanie, right?

Do ahead: Scones are always best the day they are baked. However, if you wish to get a lead on them, you can make them, arrange them on your parchment-lined sheet and freeze them. If you’re prepping just one day in advance, cover the tray with plastic wrap and bake them the day you need them. If you’re preparing them more than one day in advance, once they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Bring them back to a parchment-lined sheet when you’re ready to bake them. No need to defrost the froze, unbaked scones, just add 2 to 3 minutes to your baking time.


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