Scones are very simple yet delicate creatures. They should never be dense or chewy. They should be flaky and tender like a biscuit on the inside and crispy on the outside. To achieve this perfect texture, you need to eat them as soon as possible after baking. Luckily, they freeze exceptionally well unbaked and can be baked straight from the freezer. In fact this recipe is helped by freezing, due to the extra fat added by the large amount of goat cheese. Tangy chevre, along with a blend of finely ground peppercorns, make this scone a zippy, savory breakfast treat that pairs well with virtually any jam, jelly or marmalade, from blueberry to fig and grape to guava.
To take the flakiness over the top, gently roll your dough out on a lightly floured surface, then fold the dough over itself once or twice and gently pat into a circle before pre-cutting the wedges and freezing.
Note: If you don't have multiple types of pepper in your house, just use black pepper. I actually used black, white, pink and green pepper in the batch pictured, because I discovered I had green peppercorns at home. Either green or pink will bring a nice fruitiness to the peppery profile. Just make sure whatever you use is finely ground, preferably shortly before use. Don't panic if your scone(s) explode slightly in the oven. The high initial baking time and baking from frozen will help reduce the chances of this happening, but it might anyway due to the extra pockets of fatty goat cheese. In this case, flavor trumps presentation, and no one will care if the scones aren't perfect triangles when they taste this good.
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About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna.
- Yield:makes 8 scones
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:2 to 12 hours
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground mixed black, white and pink peppercorns, plus more for dusting
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, in 1/2-inch cubes, frozen
- 6 ounces chevre, in 1/2-inch cubes, frozen
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) buttermilk, plus more for brushing
- 1 egg, beaten
Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Add butter and chevre and cut or rub into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are roughly the size of peas. If your kitchen is very warm and the butter and cheese begin to get soft, freeze for a few minutes to firm them back up. Whisk together buttermilk and egg, then add to dry mixture and gently work in with a flexible spatula or plastic bowl scraper. Scrape onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle with more flour, then fold the left and right thirds over the middle of the dough. Pat into a circle a little over an inch thick and slide onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, then use a bench scraper or knife to cut into eight equal wedges. Wrap baking sheet and freeze until solid, at least an hour.
When ready to bake scones, set a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Remove scones from freezer and allow to thaw slightly before re-cutting wedges. At this point you can separate all the wedges and place any that you want to save for later in a freezer bag. Place any scones you will be baking immediately onto a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet an inch apart. Brush tops lightly with buttermilk and sprinkle with pepper mixture. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn and bake for another 5 minutes. Lower oven to 350°F and bake for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before eating, but eat while they're still quite warm.