After Sophie at dinnersforwinners mentioned Yotam Ottolenghi’s cardamom chicken quite a few times in her posts and comments, I decided to finally give it a try several weeks ago. The most time consuming task was finding barberries! I was almost ready to give up and just use currants (not that I could see any at the stores I went to), when I remembered a new mediterranean grocery store in our neighborhood. Thanks to wikipedia’s insightful knowledge, I was able to readily spot a box of barberries under their Persian name of zereshk. I don’t know how people used to find some of the trickier ethnic ingredients before wikipedia :-) I’ve made the cardamom chicken a few times now, but I barely made a dent in my supply of barberries. That’s when I decided I should try to find something to bake with them. As it happens, the March-April ’14 Cook’s Illustrated issue has a recipe for British-Style Currant Scones. Since currants were offered as an alternative to barberries in the chicken dish, I figured barberries could just as well replace currants in the scones. The barberries are quite tart, so the scones are best served with some sweet jam and/or butter. I decided to use some rum peach jam I made this past fall after we went fruit picking. These scones were amazing with a nice cup of tea ;-) I highly recommend the Japan Genmaicha tea from TeaGschwendner!
Ingredients (makes 7 scones):
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 Tb baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1 Tb chunks
- 1/4 cup barberries
- 1/2 cup whole milk (I always use whole milk when baking, but the recipe suggests low-fat milk can also be used)
- 1 egg
- jam for serving (8 peaches, 3/4-1 cup sugar, pinch of salt, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 1/2 Tb lemon juice, 1 Tb rum – makes ~ 1 pint)
Place oven rack in the upper-middle position. Preheat oven to 500F. In a food processor pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined (a few pulses). Add butter and pulse until mix looks like fine crumbs (15-20 pulses). Place mix in a bowl and add your barberries.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Save ~1 Tb of the mix to brush the scones later.
Fold egg-milk mix into the flour-barberry mix using a spatula. Knead until a crack-free ball can be formed (20-30 times). Press onto a floured surface into a disk shape. Roll until it is about 1 inch thick (9-10 inches in diameter). I was able to press mine into a 1 inch disk without using a rolling pin.
Using a 2 1/2 inch floured round cutter, or in my case a beer glass :-), cut out 4 scones. Gather the dough, press into a disk, and cut 2 more rounds. Use your hands to knead the remaining dough into a round scone…it won’t be as pretty, but it will still be tasty! Place scones on baking sheet rimmed with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Brush scones with the reserved egg-milk wash and place into the oven. Reduce oven to 425F. Bake scones until risen and golden brown (recipe says 10-12 min, but it was more like 15-18 in my oven). Remove scones from oven, transfer to wire rack, and let cool.
Serve with jam/butter and a nice cup of tea/coffee.
If interested in making your own jam, keep reading on how to make rum peach jam. Directions adapted from here.
Peel, seed, and chop peaches. In order to make the peeling easier, I cut an X on top of the peaches, submerged them in boiling water for about a minute, then transferred them to an ice-water bath.
Chop peaches, combine them with ~ 1/2 cup sugar, cover and let macerate overnight in the fridge.
Place macerated peaches in a large pan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook until fruit softens.
Add lemon juice, zest, and salt, and continue cooking while breaking the peaches into smaller chunks. Cook until desired consistency. Taste and adjust sugar. Add rum and stir.
At this point you are ready to either can it, or place it in a jar for refrigeration. I chose not to can it following the advice in this NYT column.
Spoon some on a nice barberry scone ;-)
These British-style scones turned out nice and flaky and they went very well with my peach jam. They will keep for a few days, or you can freeze them and then reheat them in the oven.
Now you are ready for tea time ;-)