Chocolate & Spice

chocolate, spice and the other pleasures in life

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The First Time cont'd (Part II)

Scones can be savoury too

A couple of days after making the Rustic Apple Tart, I spied a Donna Hay recipe in the Sunday magazine to the Sunday
Herald-Sun for savoury pumpkin scones and decided to try it out, seeing that pumpkins were easily available and rather cheap in the market compared to other fruit and vegetables. I was also a little intrigued about cooking with pumpkin since pumpkins are not that easily available in Singapore and usually in abnormally large sizes around Halloween in the better supermarkets, so it would be only the second time that I used pumpkin in a recipe.

The original recipe called for a fair amount of shaved parmesan and grated cheddar cheese and chopped bacon for toppings. I tweaked the recipe a little by reducing the amount of cheese and loosing the bacon as I didn't fancy a whole load of cheese and bacon on the scone to detract from the pumpkin flavour. I also added a generous pinch of curry powder to intensify the pumpkin flavour and used a butternut or jacara pumpkin (I forget which) instead of a Japanese pumpkin, that being the only pumpkin available in the local Coles supermarket. The recipe I used with slight tweaks to the original is set out below:

Savoury Pumpkin Scones

500g pumpkin, peeled and chopped
3½ cups self-raising flour
Sea salt – I used Murray River Salt Flakes
Cracked black pepper – Be generous with the cracked black pepper as it adds a slightly spicy tinge to the scones
¾ cup milk
A generous pinch of curry powder – I used Hot Madras Curry Powder from Clive of India
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 200'C.
2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and steam the pumpkin (in a baking paper-lined bamboo steamer or any other steamer) for 10-12 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked when tested with a skewer. [I found it easier to mash the pumpkin if it was sufficiently cooked till soft and cooked it for about 20 minutes instead.]
3. Remove the pumpkin from the heat, place in a bowl and mash until smooth. Add the flour, salt and pepper, and curry powder in a large bowl.
4. Make a well in the centre and gradually add the milk, stirring with a butter knife until just combined.
5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until a smooth dough forms. [I found the mixture a little too wet to turn out and knead sufficiently and lightly kneaded it in the bowl instead.]
6. Press out the dough to form a 20cm x 30cm rectangle. Scatter with the cheese, divide into 12 individual scones and place on an oiled and lined baking tray. [As I hadn't turned it out to knead, I used 2 spoons to form irregular shaped scones on the oiled and lined baking tray. That made for about 13 scones. I then scattered the cheese on top.]
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

The end-result was a little chewier than I expected of a scone but definitely had a similar density to traditional scones (which I've yet to try). A and I enjoyed the savoury pumpkin scones very much that night with the Tomato, Bean and Bacon stew (also another Nigel Slater recipe), especially with a great wodge of butter slowly melting over the side. I also had the scones for breakfast the next day. I found it a great alternative accompaniment to stews/soups instead of ordinary bread, as the pumpkin scones are more substantial than bread. Better yet, I froze the remaining scones for a rainy day when we run out of bread. Simply wrap in cling wrap and store in the freezer.

* Note: I defrosted a couple of the scones for dinner one night and it seemed like the pumpkin flavour had become more pronounced from its sojourn in the freezer. It also mopped up the remnants of the steak juices very well. Definitely convenient to have some of these on hand to satisfy the odd afternoon cravings or for the days when you've discovered the wholemeal loaf has turned moldy!
** Sorry guys but I wasn't able to upload the photos of the scones successfully so will post those in a separate entry next time around.

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