Australian scones slightly bewildered me when I first arrived here 21 years ago – ‘so they’re biscuits, right?’ But as I’ve shared in my locavore bacon & eggs, biscuits & gravy recipe, they may be virtually the same recipes, but they are eaten in very different ways, with very different things. And so having given you my savoury brekky biscuit recipe already, I will now share a savoury American scone recipe just to really confuse you. 🙂
American scones are typically enormous things, and I remember most of them being a slightly bulbous triangular shape. They were a morning staple in my years at UCSD, where I’d wander in my homemade plaid cotton trousers and wildly mismatched tie-dye t-shirts into the Grove to linger over a philosophical discussion with ‘the Wanderer’ (his real name was Brian, but he… wandered) and other nascent intellectuals, slurping at a precycle/recycle mug of mocha java and nibbling for hours at an oversized sweet scone – my favourite was blueberry at the time.
The overwhelmingly savoury palate I developed through my thirties led to a singular decline in my interest in such scones, or any kind of muffins or (goddess forbid) cupcakes. But as we prepared to host Eat Your Ethics at Jonai Farms, my mind turned immediately to ham and cheese scones – what could possibly be more suitable to commence the day of exploring all things pig?
So here’s the recipe, adapted from one of my favourite American cookbooks for baking, The Cheese Board Collective Works.
3C unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt flakes
2T fine polenta
125g cold butter, cut into smallish pieces
250g sharp Cheddar, cut into 1cm cubes
250g ethical ham, cut into 1cm cubes
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line baking sheets with baking paper.
Mix flour, baking soda, cayenne, salt & polenta. Cut in the butter until it’s the size of small peas. Gently mix in the cheese and ham. Make a well and add the cream and yoghurt until just combined. A little loose flour should still remain in the bottom of the bowl.
Place the dough on a generously floured surface and pat it into a rectangle that’s about 3cm thick. Cut it as you like into squares or triangles of your preferred size.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until light brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.