Fruit party ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

15 July 2009

Fruit party

We have been all about fruit, which is no surprise, considering summer. In the CSA box today we got peaches and blueberries; sometimes we go up the street about eight at night to buy cherries and figs from the tiny awesome grocery; last weekend at the farmer's market we bought two pints of raspberries and one of red currants. All fruit!

Most of the fruit gets eaten straight and plain, so when we cook it (or, you know, cut it up and use it in something as opposed to eating it straight out of the box) it's kind of an occasion.

For instance, although I ate the great majority of my pint of figs (all mine; John refused to eat any and instead watched me eat them with a look of glee on his face), I saved the last few for Clotilde's now-traditional fig sandwich.

Holy crap, that thing is so good. My very slightly altered version: barely toasted sourdough bread, sliced store mozzarella, sliced black figs, chiffonaded basil and torn parsley from the windowsill plants, and black pepper. SO GOOD. I had one for dinner and another for breakfast the next morning. Thus concludes my pint of figs.

Then there were the currants. We bought these as kind of a one-off farmer's market novelty; when else were we going to even see, let alone get, fresh currants? Pretty much never. Yeah. So they came home with us.

The problem: currants are a really tart, citrusy berry. It's difficult to eat more than a few at a time, although we tried. So instead, I broke out The Internet and came up with a recipe for currant scones.

Yeah, those scones want dried currants and we had fresh. Yeah, we also didn't have quite enough flour. We did have almonds, though, and I totally wanted almonds with the currants. I switched some business up and came up with these.

Currant almond scones

1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped or ground almonds, or almond meal
2 tbsp turbinado sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold butter
1/2 cup red currants
1 egg/replacer
1/2 cup milk/almond milk

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Bust out a mixing bowl and combine all your dry ingredients, including almonds. I had plain raw almonds to start with, but turned them into rough almond meal by chopping them up thoroughly. You could blanch them and slip off the skins if you want perfectly white almond bits, but I didn't bother, because I don't care about that kind of thing.

Cut your butter into small cubes, then cut it into the flour mix with a pastry cutter. Try to get it to the texture of coarse cornmeal (as every flaky dough recipe always says). My butter was a little too warm; oh well. The scones were still good. I bet an experiment with flavorless oil would work here too.

Pull the stems off what seems like a billion tiny currants and drop them in the bowl. Beat your egg separately, add it and your milk to the dough, and stir to combine. Don't overmix at this point; you want to preserve as many tiny butter chunks as possible.

Give the dough a few kneads in the bowl, turning to get any dry mix worked in. Probably some currants will start to pop at this point, which will be fine but bright red. Now start tearing off small handfuls of dough, gently pressing them into biscuit shapes, and putting them on a lightly floured cookie sheet. I got ten scones out of my dough.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops of your scones are starting to turn golden brown. This can be hard to tell with wheat flour, but not impossible.

When done, let the scones cool for a minute or two on the sheet before you pry them gently off. Some currants will probably have crept through to caramelize on the bottom of each scone.

Eat them! You want honey or butter. Or take them to work and eat them plain. I totally took them to work and ate them every day until they were gone. Scones are awesome! Sometime in the future there will have to be some savory scones filled with chopped pine nuts and basil and olive oil, or steamed corn and roasted red pepper. Scones!

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