Transforming A Cheese Plate Into A Scone

goat-cheese-walnut-sconesSweet and savory have always been the ying and yang of the food world. Any self-respecting cheese plate, for example, is going to offer a few sweet tidbits of fruit alongside the salty cheeses. Nuts often go hand-in-hand with fruit, too – even though nuts aren’t as salty as your typical cheese, the rich, full flavor of nuts puts them squarely in the “savory” category. In fact, you just might find nuts on your cheese plate. Nestled right next to the crackers.

These scones offer the best of a well-rounded cheese plate: walnuts, almonds, pears, goat cheese, and a soft-textured cracker equivalent. The biggest difference between the cheese plate and the scones is that the scones include all of these elements in one neat package. That makes it easier to enjoy them for breakfast or take them along for lunch. And they’re already salted and peppered, too!

Goat Cheese, Walnut & Pear Scones

1/2 cup almond flour (I grind sliced almonds in my coffee grinder to create instant flour)
3/4 cup sorghum flour*
3/4 cup brown rice flour*
1 T. sucanant
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
Generous grinding of peppercorns (I re-mix my own pepper blend so that I have a higher ratio of pink peppercorns to the green, white, and black, but use whatever peppercorns you have on hand)
About 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 stick butter, preferably from grass-fed cows (Kerrygold is my current favorite), kept refrigerated until the last minute**
2 medium pears, skins left on, chopped
2 oz. soft goat cheese (herbed if you like)
1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 egg, preferably from pastured hens, lightly scrambled in a small bowl with a fork

Preheat oven to 375F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sucanat, baking powder, salt, pepper, and walnuts. Take the butter out of the fridge and use a regular knife to cut it into smallish pieces before adding it to the flour mixture. Finish blending the two by using a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, get your hands nice and floury and hand-crumble the butter into small, flour-covered pieces.

Stir in the chopped pears and finger-crumble the soft goat cheese onto the dough. Stir in the yogurt and egg. Be gentle about it so that the goat cheese crumbles keep their shape and don’t smear into nothingness. (You’ll have more end flavor if you have little bursts of goat cheese crumbles in there.)

Plop large spoonfuls of dough onto the covered baking sheet. You’ll end up with 12 scones that’ll be about 3 1/2″ across when baked. Just start out with 12 spoonfuls and then add to each one so that you have evenly sized scones. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are a golden brown and the bottoms are a consistent light brown.


* These are gluten-free flours. If you’d prefer to make a wheat-based version, use whole-wheat, spelt, or kamut flours in place of the sorghum and brown rice flours.

** The reason you want to keep the butter refrigerated as long as possible is that pastured butter is naturally softer than conventional butter due to the fact that grass-fed cows have less saturated fat in their milk than corn-and-soy-fed cows do. Saturated fat is what gets stiff when chilled. Less saturated fat = softer butter, which is great if you want to cream butter to make cookies or cakes … but is not as advantageous when you want to be able to cut through butter rather than smear it. But if you keep your pastured butter well-chilled until the last possible minute, it will be hard enough to cut through. (And amazingly delicious, too!)

Courtesy of Cultured Cook.

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© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan LLC

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