May 17, 2016

Ginger Rhubarb Scones

When I arrived in Atlanta last week, it didn't feel like Spring at all. It was 88 degrees, 88% humidity, and way too sunny for that kind of heat. I was quickly back on the road, this time to Long Island, New York to visit family, and it finally felt like Spring instead of Summer. One of the fleeting signs of this gorgeous season is the brief appearance of rhubarb. When done right, its gentle tartness lends itself well to a variety of dishes. When done wrong, it might just kill you (really). These scones only use some of the sliced stems, so you have nothing to worry about. The flavor is a little bit sharp, but the sweet, buttery scones help tone it down, and there's a bit of fresh spicy ginger in there for good measure.

The trick to making rhubarb more palatable is letting it macerate. Maceration is a technique that lets fruits sit in juice to soften. With rhubarb, you just have to sprinkle the slices with some sugar to draw the natural juices out. This reduces the moisture content so the scones don't end up soggy, and it also makes sure each bite of rhubarb is countered with some sweetness.

The scones use a fairly standard buttermilk dough. The process is similar to that of biscuits or pie crust if you've never made scones before. Just pulse your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) together in a food processor, add cubes of cold butter until just combined, then stir in your liquid ingredients (in this case, buttermilk and vanilla). As usual, the key things to keep in mind are making sure your ingredients are cold and mixed together just until combined. Small lumps of butter are ok, and the dough shouldn't be too sticky.

The one slightly different thing I do in this scone recipe is infuse the sugar with the ginger. It's the best way to perfume the entire dough with the ginger and takes all of 10 seconds. Using your fingertips, rub the grated fresh ginger into the granulated sugar until the sugar is fragrant and a bit moist. This ensures that it is evenly distributed and you won't bite into any big pockets of sharp ginger.

Once the dough is finished, you can shape it however you want. I tend to pat the dough into a few even circles and cut each circle into quarters so you end up with small but fat scones. I've also seen people do one big circle cut into lots of thinner wedges, a rectangle cut into squares or smaller rectangles, or using cookie cutters to make other shapes. The easiest method is making drop scones, which is just using a cookie scoop or spoon to drop heaps of dough onto the cookie tray and baking them into craggy domes. As long as they aren't too oversized or too tiny, they should all take about the same time to bake, but all you need to know is that you should pull them out of the oven when they are evenly browned on the bottom and just starting to become golden on the top. Pro tip: make a quick glaze with some powdered sugar, milk, and an extra pinch of fresh ginger to make them look even prettier.

3 Stalks Rhubarb, Sliced
2 tsp Grated Ginger
1/3 Cup + 3 T Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 T Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Stick Butter, Chilled & Cubed
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Buttermilk

Heat oven to 425F and line a baking tray with parchment.

Toss the rhubarb with 3 T sugar and let sit for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, rub the ginger into the remaining sugar until fragrant.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the ginger-sugar mixture, flour, baking powder, and salt together until combined. Pulse in the butter until small lumps remain. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and pulse until just combined. Gently stir in the rhubarb.

Cut the dough into three pieces. Shape each into a circle and cut each circle into quarters. Transfer the scones to the prepared tray and bake until golden, about 12 minutes.

Makes 12
Recipe Adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker

No comments:

Post a Comment