March is such a fantastic time on Salt Spring, daylight becomes noticeably longer, flowers are blooming and frogs are croaking around the lakes, the buzz of spring is in the air! There is a sense of renewed life that is so prevalent at this time of year when our mild winter transitions to spring. The mornings at the café are some of my favorite times there; enjoying the calm before the storm, watching the sun rise over the distant islands and our beautiful harbour and getting ready for another busy day. For the better part of the last decade, my work day has begun with baking scones.
When Lis and I opened Auntie Pesto’s Café in 2004 the competition for morning trade was fierce! Well established locations had the lock down on the morning muffin and we knew it would be a great challenge to crack that nut. No matter how you pronounce them, our scones have become a morning staple at the café for many of you. With a cup of our exceptional coffee, they may very well be the perfect start to a day.
• 2 ½ cups All Purpose flour
• ¼ cup white sugar
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• Pinch salt
• 1 egg
• 400ml buttermilk
• ¼ lbs butter ( cold, cubed )
Sift together dry ingredients and put in your food processor with the blade attachment. Add the cubed butter to the food processor and blitz the ingredients until the butter is incorporated or the consistency of oatmeal. Once complete, turn this out into a mixing bowl.
At this point you can consider what type of scone you’d like to make and add the necessary ingredients. Cinnamon & Raisin, Lemon & Blueberry, Maple & Walnut, Bacon & Cheddar, Chive & Parmesan, Poppy Seed, these are a few ideas to take your biscuit baking skills to the next level.
In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk and egg and whisk together. Pour your wet mixture into the flour butter mix and using a spatula, fold the ingredients together until a smooth dough is formed. Careful not to over mix, essentially you want the dough to hold a shape.
Turn your dough out onto a flour dusted board or table, flatten it down and round it. The dough should appear to be roughly the size of a pie dish. Cut your portions ( I do 6 ) like you are cutting a pie, place your cut portions on a lined or greased baking sheet.
Put your biscuits into a preheated oven at 375. Baking will take 12-18 minutes depending on the size of biscuit you cut. What I enjoy most with this recipe is the versatility. This recipe can be used to make a savory or a sweet biscuit depending on your needs.
Biscuits are best served warm with butter & sweet preserve, but to take it to the next level try them with a healthy dollop of double Devon cream. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Prepared for the Salt Spring Exchange by Shawn Walton: Husband, Father, Chef/Owner of Auntie Pesto’s Café on beautiful Salt Spring Island.