Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cranberry Walnut Oat Scones

I recently sent some friends a Guardian Service 15" Service Tray as a wedding gift, knowing that they'd come to value it, as I do, for the wonderfully crispy crust it produces on homemade pizza. But because the tray, purchased online, arrived from a third-party seller and I couldn't be there to explain, they put it into use just as its makers intended: as a beautiful serving tray. Indeed, all Guardian Service ware was intended to go directly from "stove to table," with its part Arts and Crafts/part Space Age–Streamline esthetic.

But the tray was never marketed as I've come to use it most, as a baking sheet. Part of the cookware's pitch was its "top-stove" technology—baking on a burner, from quick breads in the Duplex Utility pan to layer cake in the Kettle/Canner—yet the service tray is perfect for traditional oven baking: the thin, rough-textured aluminum resists sticking and distributes heat evenly, creating crisp crusts for pizza or the perfect finish on an eggy holiday gougères.

So in honor of my friends' wedding, here's another recipe well suited to the 15" tray: scones.

I prefer the heartier, Scottish–style scones and the tray is just the right size to bake up a half-dozen large triangle scones. Variations are endless, from savory herb and cheese combinations to the fruit and nut sort featured here.

Cranberry Walnut Oat Scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
Gently pat dough into round.
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tsp. orange zest
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup half and half
  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Mix dry ingredients and cold cut butter into flour mixture until the size of small peas using a pastry blender or two knives.
  3. Beat eggs in separate bowl, reserving 2 Tbsp. to brush tops of scones before baking.
  4. Add half-and-half to remaining eggs.
  5. Make a well in dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and as Irma Rombauer cautions us, "Combine with a few swift strokes. Handle the dough as little as possible."
  6. Turn dough out onto the tray, pat into a large round (approximately 2 inches thick), then slice into six equal wedges with a silicone knife or other scratch-proof tool.
  7. Brush triangles with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned.
Separate with a scratch-proof tool such as this silicone knife.
Brush tops of scones with reserved egg.

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