Sunday, January 20, 2013

Using up the Pantry: Date and Orange Scones

I have made a pledge to myself this year to not stash more food into my pantry than I take out and use. For a compulsive food shopper who loves buying in bulk this can be a little hard.  I hope if I can get some storage credit going at the start of the year then I can still indulge when I spot ingredients I just have to buy. First confession is that I have just this weekend placed an order with the German Deli which will arrive later this week and I do not have much storage credit in the bank, so I need to get busy, and have chosen to make scones.

Date and Orange Scones, butter & marmalade
The ingredients that were staring at me demanding to be used were: 

  • strong white flour, at least 12 months old
  • remnants of crystallised honey in a jar, open for months
  • candied orange zest, a pre-christmas experiment, never used
  • too rich 'seriously creamy' waitrose custard, no good for the purpose it was bought
  • dates, over 12 months old

Scone Ingredients
When using up ingredients you have to get a little bit creative with your recipes so the more forgiving a recipe the better, and whilst baking can be pretty unforgiving, scones are very obliging when it comes to substitutions.

The ingredient I most wanted to use up was the custard which was too rich to my taste. Whatever I made with the custard I wanted to be suitable for freezing so that I did not end up converting one 'needs to be eaten now' product into yet another, even larger one. So thoughts of bread and butter pudding and trifle were out.

Scones are quick to make, freeze pretty well, and are relatively healthy, as sweet snacks go; so I make them quite a lot.

My basic scone recipe is:

Pre-heat oven to 200C

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 25g of baking powder (best not to use old out of date stuff, it often does not work)
  • 50g sugar
  • 50g butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large or 2 small eggs
  • 230ml milk

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
  2. Rub in the butter
  3. Stir in the sugar
  4. Crack the egg(s) into a well in the bowl, add about half the milk and give a quick whisk to break up the egg(s).
  5. Gently bring the ingredients together, hands or large fork work here, adding enough of the remaining milk to form a soft but not too sticky dough.
  6. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and work it gently together patting out to a rectangular slab about 4-5cm thick.
  7. Cut into whatever size scones you want. A straight sided dough scraper is pretty useful here.
  8. Place the scones on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  9. Bake at 200C, Gas Mark 6 for 15-20 minutes, depending on how large you cut the scones.

Check the scones after 10 minutes as you may want to turn the tray in the oven to keep the baking even across the whole tray. In my oven the back is the hottest spot and I always need to turn the tray.

So the substitutions I made were:
replace the sugar with honey
replace the butter and milk with the creamy custard

And the flavourings added were:
100g chopped dates
1 tsp finely chopped candied orange zest (fresh orange zest just as good)

The recipe will work with plain flour but you will need less liquid and the crumb texture may be a little more cake like.

Eat fresh, freeze as soon as cool, perfect food to eat at your desk or just about anywhere really.

Date and Orange Scones Waiting to be Eaten 

Credit Crunch MunchI would like to submit this post to the organisers of the blog challenge Credit Crunch Munch  which is being run by Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla at fab food 4 all 

 Credit Crunch Munch-January

1 comment:

  1. What an excellent use of your left over ingredients, I would never have thought to put custard in a scone and don't think I've seen them made with strong flour before either - you learn something new every day:-) Thank you for entering these into Credit Crunch Munch!