Fall. I wait all year for you. The soothing smell of burning wood that reminds me of my childhood, the crackle of leaves blazing like fire, the lazy soot-coloured sky that dances between day and dusk and the smell of butter, flour and sugar that seems to blanket our neighbourhood as the cool air and holiday season arrives.
We’re fortunate to live in a neighbourhood speckled with incredible bakeries that make taking a short walk impossible to complete without a snack, or at very least, a coffee. But somehow, when the weather turns crisp that smell beckons like never before. It smells like the holidays, like a warm hug, a hot coffee and a scone. That’s what autumn smells like.
The fall season is usually a bluster of get-togethers for us. Birthdays and Thanksgiving, the return to the indoors and a shift in entertaining. Where the summer offered a laissez-faire attitude towards cooking and hosting, the fall requires a more thought-out approach. A return to planning and organizing, cooking batches when time allows so your valuable time can be spent making memories, telling stories and gathering at the table. These scones are a family favourite in the fall, right at the tail end of fig season. I make the dough and shape them before freezing for easy baking when the doorbell rings unexpectedly. While my favourite scones are usually the denser cream scone, I love the flakiness that butter offers to this sweet and spiced scone. Gay Lea Unsalted butter is one ingredient – cream. Simple. No messing around when it comes to my favourite ingredient.
makes 6-8 large scones
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Gay Lea Unsalted Butter, cubed and cold
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk (dairy or non) or light cream
3/4 cup chopped fresh figs
2-3 tbsp fig preserves (apricot will do in a pinch)
coarse sugar, for garnish
1 whole fig, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375.
Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or two forks. It should be a sandy texture with some pea-sized butter pieces remaining. If you feel that the butter is starting to get soft, pop in the freezer for 10 minutes. I like everything to be very cold, this results in the best possible scone.
Whisk together the egg and milk and pour into the flour/butter mixture with the figs. Stir until a loose ball of dough forms. It will be wet in some spots and there will likely be some flour left at the bottom of the bowl. Press the dough against the side of the bowl a few times to get as much dough out as possible. Lightly flour your counter or surface and pat ball of dough into a 9″ circle trying not to overwork. Place into a 10″ skillet and cut like a pizza into 6-8 scones, depending on how many you want and what size. Brush the tops with fig preserves, sprinkle with sugar and tuck a few slices of whole fig around the tops (optional). Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden around the edges and cooked through. Serve with a hot cup of tea or coffee and someone amazing.