Seriously, you’d revoke my book contact if you saw this place. I might have kept this to myself forever, but I have been found out. I have been found out because in the last month, more strangers have entered my apartment than have in the three-plus years we’ve lived here. They come under the auspices of writing articles about tiny kitchens or wanting to watch me make a recipe from the cookbook, but I know the truth: they want to see how we really live and when they find out, well, I hope they are relieved because are all of the fruits in your bowl intact? Are no firemen in unjust time outs? Good, you’re a step ahead.
Nevertheless, because this is my website and because on my website, I get to try (occasionally) to put my best foot forward, I am going to tell you about the morning two weeks ago that I had two guests over and I actually pulled off hospitality. Mostly. I mean, one person had been here before, thus she knew it was smart to bring coffee in. But these scones were so wonderful that I think they make up for all sorts of things, like the pile of platters and bowls that sit on a corner chair, have spilled out from a cabinet so long ago, we don’t even notice them anymore. I started with a recipe for scones I’d made a few years ago, but instead of apples, I used pears (not the one with the bite taken out; you’re welcome) and instead of accenting it with cheddar, I used chunks of bittersweet chocolate. These enormous roasted pear and chocolate chunk scones — assembled the night before, baked directly from the freezer before my morning guests arrived — were a revelation; craggy, hearty, a little crunchy, tender in the center, crisp at the edges, gorgeously bronzed and an ideal balance of light sweetness but late-October indulgence. I am not sure I’ve ever made anything so good for breakfast guests before, or will ever be so coordinated before 9 a.m. again.
Four days! Until The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook leaves my “kitchen” and hopefully makes a home in yours. That’s less than 100 hours. This is.. wild. We’re getting a little giddy with excitement for the NYC launch on Tuesday evening. Do you think it would be rude to uninvite Sandy? She seems the type that could really wreck a good party, and we don’t need any of that.
One year ago: Homesick Texan Carnitas
Two years ago: Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese
Three years ago: Silky, Decadent Old-School Chocolate Mousse
Four years ago: Paris + A Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce and Pink Lady Cake
Five years ago: Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Six years ago: Easiest Baked Mac-and-Cheese
Roasted Pear and Chocolate Chunk Scones
Tweaked from The Perfect Finish
Makes 6 generous scones; you can absolutely make these a bit smaller and reduce their baking time accordingly
3 firmish pears (about 1 pound or 455 grams)
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated or coarse for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) table salt plus additional for egg wash
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1/4 cup (3 ounces or 85 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or chips)
2 large eggs, 1 for dough, 1 for glaze
Heat oven to 375°F. Peel and core pears. Cut into 1-inch chunks. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pear chunks on parchment and roast until they feel dry to the touch and look a little browned underneath, about 20 minutes. Slide parchment paper with pear chunks onto a cooling rack (or onto a plate in the fridge or freezer to speed this up) and cool to lukewarm. Leave oven on. Line baking sheet with another piece of parchment.
Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar and salt together in the bowl of an electric mixer. Toss in cooled pear chunks, bits of butter, heavy cream and 1 egg. With the paddle attachment, mix the dough on low speed until it just comes together. Don’t overmix. Add the chocolate chunks and mix for 5 seconds more.
On a very well floured counter, pat out dough into a 6-inch round. Cut into 6 generous wedges and transfer to baking sheet at least two inches apart (do as I say, not as I did here!). Whisk remaining egg in a small dish with 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt. Brush each scone with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Bake scones until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack. Serve, and pat yourself on the back for your excellent host skills.
Do ahead: You can get this recipe all the way to the point where you’d bake them, and instead cover the pan with foil or plastic wrap and freeze them overnight. Bake them directly from the freezer in the morning; they should only take a few minutes longer. For longer than overnight, transfer frozen, already shaped, scones to a freezer bag until needed. In both cases, brush the egg wash/sprinkle the sugar on while still frozen, before baking the scones.