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Year of the Cake Part Seventeen: Raspberry Scones and Peach Cobbler

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Fruit + cake = win. It’s official. Especially if you can incorporate in-season fruit. It’s easy to get almost whatever you like at any time of year, now – oh the food miles! – but it tastes better if it’s locally grown. I’m not saying that you should only eat local produce; although in an ideal world that’s what we’d do, I’d be a complete hypocrite to forward that point of view, given that I generally just eat whatever’s on the go. But I pay for it first – what’s the deal with people eating grapes on their way round the shops? That’s stealing! Grape theft is rife! It abounds! Gadzooks!

I should probably point out now that I know peach cobbler isn’t cake, and that calling scones ‘cake’ is debatable. I’m choosing not to be excessively fussy about my definition of cake. I’m an open minded kind of girl, and I’m especially inclusive when it comes to cake.  Extremely inclusive – so inclusive that I won’t rest until I’ve made and eaten all the kinds of cake, then I’ll start at the beginning again to make sure that nothing’s changed since I last ate it.

First, to the scones – here‘s the recipe. These are pretty healthy as cake goes – they substitute coconut oil for butter, agave nectar for sugar and use wholewheat spelt flour for added fibre (and taste). If I’ve done my sums right they come in at about 100 calories each, but they don’t taste low fat. They do taste ‘healthy’ in that you get the wholewheat texture and flavour from the flour, and of course the fresh raspberries add to the ‘this is good for me so I can have ten’ feel. The recipe is here – I would suggest reducing the amount of flour by half a cup, I found that this worked best for me. I also took up the suggestion of this blog – http://cupcakeblog.com – and used an ice-cream scoop to dole out even portions of the scone mixture. I was baking for 25 people, and with the yield being 8 per batch I could have bene there for quite some time, and spent a lot of money on agave nectar. Actually this baking project was sponsored by a Cake Fund at work – I suggested to everyone in the department that, if they liked, they could donate 25p each and then we could all have one of these beauties. I’ve never asked anyone to pay for my cakes before, except for charity, and it felt extremely weird, but everyone was into it and very generous. It’s amazing what people will do for home baking, I’m finding. I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t so skint – there’s a family wedding on the horizon, next Wednesday in fact, and so money has gone on those essentials like a haircut, a number of items of costume jewellery and a top hat fascinator. I never thought I’d be the kind of girl to wear a fascinator, as the picture in the pirate beanie probably suggests, but I’ve wanted a top hat since I was fifteen, and it’s extremely cute, in a rocking kind of way. To drag myself back to the point of the blog, though, we essentially had a department whip-round and came up with far more cash than I needed to buy the ingredients for the raspberry scones. I used some of the extra to buy rice flour for future gluten-free projects, and also some ‘special bun flour’ from the Chinese supermarket, which I’m pretty excited about trying. There is further excess cash left though, so I’ll be casting around for recipes with unusual ingredients so I can spend it all.

And now to get fully back to the point… Unlike your traditional scone, the dough for these is very soft, more like a thick cake mix than a scone dough, so the scoop was a great help in portioning it out. I got 10 mini scones from the recipe, using less flour; I played around with it a bit before I got this result, making three separate batches. By the end of the third batch I was pleased with the result, though the scones were all a big hit with my willing testers. I was evidently premature in sealing them in their airtight transport container though, as they were a lot softer the next day than they had been the night before – I can only attribute this to them still being warm when I sealed them in, and the heat creating scone-softening moisture. As I mentioned, though, they went down a treat, and they were a nice variation on a traditional fruit scone, with the raspberries being a lot fresher and tangier than the usual raisins.

Just one last thing I wanted to mention was the coconut oil, which was solid at room temperature here in Scotland. If you live in a warmer climate I understand that it’s liquid, or somewhere in between, but I had to melt it down so I could add it to the scone mix. I was a bit worried about that, but having looked it up online I’m pretty sure this is normal – I can’t really have bought and used the wrong thing, anyway, since it says ’100% pure coconut oil’ on the jar.

Now to the peach cobbler. I find it hard to get really good peaches, it’s all down to their legendary propensity to bruising. Once a fruit is bruised it’s only a matter of time before it’s mouldy, and for some reason peaches seem to have a particularly speedy bashed-to-mould time about them. The other thing is that they can be devilishly tricky to stone – I almost did myself a damage trying to get the blighters out of these beauties, though it was pretty much worth it. It wouldn’t have been worth it if I hadn’t reacted quickly enough and had, in fact, lost the tip of my finger. There may be foods that I would sacrifice part of my hand for, but I’m not sure what. Based on this blog you’d be forgiven for suggesting ramen would be one. You might be right. Anyway, buy the best peaches you can find, this recipe really brings out the best in them. It’s a straightforward combination of peaches, sugar and an almost scone-y topping – the full title of the recipe is Cornmeal Drop-Biscuit Peach Cobbler (link embedded there). Bear in mind that this is an American recipe, and from what I can make out a drop biscuit is kind of like a scone, but American. Anyway this is like a beefed-up crumble – not made with beef, just to be clear, but crumble taken to the next level. Crumble to the max. Uber-crumble. You get the idea. It’s more substantial and cakey than a crisp crumble topping, but isn’t stodgy or too heavy – in fact I think we all could have eaten a second helping, had there been any left. The cornmeal (polenta) in the topping gave a crunchy, rough texture which we all enjoyed, though I can understand why you might not, so just be ready for it. The last thing you want is surprise texture. Oooh the horror.

The sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon thickens slightly to a syrupy sauce, which makes this pudding self-saucing, though we did have it with cream anyway. I mean to say, peaches and cream, it’s like… well… cheese and wineRhubarb and custard? ? It’s a cliche, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. This would be delicious served on its own, but it was possibly even slightly more delicious with cream poured over the top. It’s that hot/cold in the same mouthful thing, it’s so good. Like hot chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream – the brain doesn’t really know what’s going on, but it likes it.

The spellchecker just ignored the word ‘mothful’. Now, I understand what the word means, full of moths, or heavily populated by moths, but why on earth would the spellchecker accept it, when it won’t accept cakey, skint or fascinator? I shall be have to take this up with the appropriate authorities. This reminds me of the day I invented the word treeful. It’s a good word, and I stand by it.

Finish on a high note rather than a sort of incomprehensible mini-rant about made up words: here is a final, close up picture of the peach cobbler.

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About Rock Salt

Seasoning while rocking out since 1983.

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