Sunday, June 28, 2015

Back in LC: Buttermilk III

Actually, I’ve been back in Rhode Island for just over a month now, but just got down to LC, where thoughts turn to baking and guilt about my on-life-support blog.  A few friends from here have mentioned it, subtly (as in, “I haven’t seen the blog in a while”) or not so subtly (“Are you going to do the blog now that you’re here?”). So here I am, sending this out to my few but fierce believers, after a month lolling about like a slug.

Which I totally needed after a horrific academic year, and six-months-and-counting of recovering from the dreaded (as in, do not get this injury) trimalleolar fracture.  Bones healed perfectly (“like a 20-year-old!!” surgeon crowed). Yeah, but all that other stuff—you know, the stuff that actually lets you walk—ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves—a massive contractured, painful, scar-tissued mess. A metal plate with nine screws and a 4” bolt are the least of it.

But I can now stand and limp around crutch-free for short distances well enough to bake. And I must say that I do have some personal pent-up demand to break out the rolling pins and pie plates, after more than five months of being pretty much incapacitated.

By now you know that, with few exceptions, everything I do on this blog is down-right, unapologetically old fashioned, homey, and New England (or Pennsylvania German) to the core. This morning for Sunday breakfast I reached way back to make these plain scones “baked” on a griddle, the way scones were meant to be.  You do need to tend to them, but it is all as simple as can be, and since they mix up in two secs, the whole process is done in 20 minutes. Buttermilk, as always, makes them tender and a bit tangy.

Stove-top Scones

These will have a nice contrast of textures between the insides and outsides. Go for something golden, a little on the darker side, like an English muffin. These are not sweet; I compensate by eating them with butter and jam. Makes 12.

2 ½ c a-p flour
1 T sugar
2 ½ tea baking powder
½ tea baking soda
1 tea salt
1/8 tea ginger (optional)
4 T unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk (shake before measuring)
1 large egg

Put a seasoned griddle, preferably cast iron, on the stove over low heat.

Mix flour, sugar, b.p, b.s, salt, and ginger in a medium blowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and cut it into the dry ingredients with your fingers until crumbly.

Whisk the egg into the buttermilk and stir into the flour mixture with a fork until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and divide it into three pieces. Form each piece, kneading lightly, into a small circle, about 6” diameter but no less than ½” thick. With a sharp, floured knife, cut each circle in quarters.

Place the wedges on the griddle; they should be dry from the flour on the counter, and you do not need to grease the griddle unless you want to. Cook them for about 3 minutes, then turn the heat up to medium and continue cooking them for another 3-5 minutes, or until they have risen and the bottoms are the shade of golden you prefer. Turn them over with a spatula and cook until the other side is golden, 6 minutes or so. With your hands or a pair of tongs, turn the scones to one edge and cook for about a minute; repeat with the other edges until scones are cooked all around.

Serve hot with butter and jam or marmalade.