Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Apricot Scones and Clotted Cream

Cheapskatism is often the mother of my trying new recipes.  In this case, it was about that decadent British delicacy, clotted cream.  Well - it may not be a delicacy there, where Devon cream can be found in the dairy section, but here in Merka it's all but impossible to find except online.  Nonetheless, I was too stingy to shell out seven bucks (plus shipping) for a microscopic jar of it, and began to wonder if there was a way to make it myself.  It turns out there is, though it takes quite a bit of waiting time.  Then when I'd done that experiment successfully I realised I needed something to serve this angelic substance on - scones, natch. 

Apricot Scones and Clotted Cream

Homemade Clotted Cream (it takes some time, so plan ahead!)

First, you need unpasteurised (preferably) or plain ol' pasteurised cream.  Ultra-pasteurised won't work for sciencey reasons I won't go into here but which you can read about at the link below.  Then, find a small covered oven-safe pot, one in which the cream will come up 1-3" up the sides.  Heat oven to 180F and pour 1-2 pints of cream in the pot; cover.  Leave the pot in the oven 8-12 hours (make sure your oven doesn't shut itself off!) or until the cream develops a thick yellowish skin - this is the clotted cream.  Sure, that description sounds disgusting, but it's the good stuff, trust me!  Next, remove the pot from the oven and cool to room temperature.  Finally, chill the cream in the fridge for another 8 hours.  When done you can spoon the thick clotted cream into another sealed container (and the rest of the cream can be used for another purpose).

Cream method taken from here.

Apricot Scones

2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
2 cups chopped dried apricots
1 cup sliced almonds
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 tablespoon apricot liqueur
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup half & half or milk
2 teaspoons milk
2 tablespoons coarse sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.  Work in the butter with a pastry cutter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.  Stir in the fruit and nuts.   In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond extract, apricot liqueur, and half & half or milk.  Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir (use your hands if needed) until all is moistened and holds together.   

Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it.  Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half.  Round each half into a 6" disc. The discs should be about 3/4" thick.  Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with cinnamon and coarse white sparkling sugar.  Using a knife or dough scraper (dip in flour if needed to prevent sticking), slice each circle into 6 wedges.  Carefully pull the wedges away from the centre to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.   

For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425F.  Bake scones for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn't look wet or unbaked.  Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm, topped with apricot jam and the clotted cream. 

Basic scone method from the wonderful King Arthur Flour people, here.

Here, have another look, because you can never have enough.

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