Where do I start?
How about in Toronto, in the ravine. It’s a lovely October morning, and I’m walking with my friend Victoria and her dog Zoe. Let’s be clear, we are fast walking. Victoria is a beautiful force – her legs are long and her energy is vast. As we walk, (me trying my best to keep up) our conversation jumps from kids, to husbands, to working for ourselves to life’s hurdles and how to scissor kick right over them.
I have a $20 bill in the pocket of my athleisure tights; Victoria promised we’d end the walk with a visit to a local bakery for a coffee and their famous scones. I love a dangling carrot.
We weave our way along the paths for an hour, passing walkers, runners and many dogs. Victoria calls to Zoe. It’s time to put her leash on, which means the bakery is close. I slide my hand in the pocket of my tights. I want to touch the $20 and tell it ‘not long now.’
But my $20 isn’t there; our athletic strides had worked the bill right out of the pocket. I look around in a panic, hoping it will appear on the worn footpath or along the grassy edge. Of course it’s not there.
I’m crestfallen. I love scones, perhaps as much as I love coffee. But then I see him, a man I couldn’t help but notice as we entered the Ravine. He is handsome, in a Alexander Skarsgård kind of way (if he hadn’t been that scary abusive husband in Big Little Lies). He has three Bullmastiffs on a leash. It’s too much. But my desire for breakfast is stronger than this vision. I approach him and ask if, by any chance, has he found a $20 bill on his walk? He smiles and pulls his shirt up to reveal a six pack and a $20 bill stuck into his pants. Is this the one? He asks with a smile.
YES! I cry as I pull it out. Thank you!
Now, every time I eat a scone, I smile.
Oatmeal Scones with Roasted Pears – inspired by the Violet Bakery Cookbook
*Plan ahead, this recipe works best when the dough has time to chill 3 hrs or overnight.
Line a small cookie sheet (20cmx30cm) with parchment paper and set aside.
375g (2 1/2 cups) flour
200g (2 cups) large flake oats plus more for sprinkling
80g (1/2 cup packed) brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine sea salt
Combine above ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. To this mixture add:
300g (1 1/2 cup) cold butter, cut into cubes*
Use two forks (or an electric mixer) to blend until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together:
2 egg yolks
250g (1 cup) plain yogurt – not fat free
4 tablespoons maple syrup
Fold wet mixture into dry until incorporated. Spread mixture onto parchment-lined cookie sheet, into a 20cm x 30 cm rectangle. It will be thick and sticky. Top with:
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked fruit, the more syrupy the better.
(I used leftover roasted pears. To make them, I peeled, cored and cut 4 pears into eights. I put them in a roasting pan with 1/2 cup of maple sugar – because that’s what I had, but any sweetness will do- a 1/3 cup water, zest of a lemon, a stick of cinnamon and 1 star anise. I tossed it all together, covered the pan and put it in a 180C / 350F oven for about an hour, until the pears were tender. I ate them on yogurt, in salads, and now, on scones.)
Press the fruit into the batter then pour any syrup you may have with the fruit over top. Chill.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 200C / 400F. Line another cookie sheet with parchment paper. Slice the dough in half lengthwise, then each strip three squares. Cut each square into two triangles. Transfer triangles to prepared cookie sheet. You can brush scones with an egg wash at this point (1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp milk) but they’ll be just fine without. Rustic vs shiny rustic; it’s up to you. Sprinkle tops with reserved large-flake oats.
Bake scones for 30-35 minutes, until golden.
*Note – I didn’t have enough butter, so topped up what I had with coconut oil and a splash of vegetable oil, hence the crispy edges in the image above. Just more proof that I’ll do anything to move forward once I have scones on my mind…