I admit to being slightly obsessed with the smokey, nutty flavor of buckwheat flour and how it can transform cakes, cookies, and pancakes. So when I finally got to the top of the wait list for the Eugene Public Library's copy of Kim Boyce's cookbook Good to the Grain on baking with whole wheat flours, I was immediately drawn to her recipe for figgy buckwheat scones. Her fig butter sounded amazing, but also a lot of work and instead I decided to use up the last of a batch of hardy kiwi, quince, and raspberry jam that my husband had made in the fall.
I followed Heidi Swanson's suggestion on this recipe and made the dough in a food processor. Then, perhaps with a bit too much confidence, I flattened it out (a little thinner than the specified 3/4 inch) and slathered it with jam (a little more than the specified 1 cup).
During the subsequent jelly roll step things got a little too messy to document (and I wouldn't advise letting the jam-covered dough warm up while you scour your house for a hole puncher that is needed at that very instant for a time-sensitive book binding project).
However, despite the slightly gory process involved in producing these spirals, the final scones baked up beautifully. The dough was tender and had that smoky buckwheat flavor I've grown to love. When figs are in season, I'll try Kim Boyce's butter, but in the meantime I look forward to pairing this scone dough with any of a variety of fillings. Hazelnuts and chocolate chips (as in these rugelach) might be next.
Buckwheat and Jam Scones
adapted from Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain
1 cup (4.75 oz / 135 g) buckwheat flour
1 1/4 cups (5.5 oz / 160 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2.5 oz / 70 g) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces (113 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz / 300 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (8 oz) jam or jelly (such as Boyce's fig butter described here)
1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
2. Pour the dry ingredients into a food processor bowl and pulse to mix. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter is cut into pea-sized pieces. Add the cream and pulse a few more times, just until the dough is combined. You can also prepare the dough by hand, but work quickly so that the butter remains chilled.
3. Use a pastry scraper or a spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. It will be sticky, so flour your hands and pat the dough into a rectangle. Grab a rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle that is 8 inches wide, 16 inches long, and 3/4 inch thick. If at any time the dough rolls off in a different direction, use your hands to square the corners and pat it back into shape. As you're rolling, periodically run a pastry scraper or spatula underneath to loosen the dough, flour the surface, and continue rolling. This keeps the dough from sticking. Flour the top of the dough if the rolling pin is sticking.
5. Spread the jam over the dough, leaving a couple of inches from one of the long edges that will be your final seam. From the other long edge, roll the the dough up, patting the dough as you roll so that it forms a neat log 16 inches long. Roll the finished log so that the seam is on the bottom and the weight of the roll seals the edge.
6. Use a sharp knife to slice the log in half. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap, place them on a baking sheet or plate, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (The dough can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days.) While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. After 30 minutes, take both logs out of the refrigerator and cut each half into 6 equal pieces about 11/4 inches wide. Place each scone flat, with the spiral of the jam facing up, on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet, 6 to a sheet. Give the scones a squeeze to shape them into rounds.
8. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The scones are ready to come out when their undersides are golden brown. They are best eaten warm from the oven or later that same day. (You can always save one of the logs to bake on a subsequent day).
Makes 12 scones.