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Everyday Entertaining: Make rhubarb scones to stock away for a springtime brunch

Scones studded with blushing rhubarb make for a great brunch-at-home move when friends or family are unexpectedly over before lunch.

Ileana Morales Valentine | Special to the Times

Scones studded with blushing rhubarb make for a great brunch-at-home move when friends or family are unexpectedly over before lunch.

Ramps and rhubarb. Fresh fava beans and fiddlehead ferns. These are the markers of spring that from my vantage point in Florida are usually only found in Instagram photos. I can like images of these ingredients, but do I get to cook with them? The facsimile doesn't taste so sweet.

The one seasonal produce darling I am able to find around here is also my favorite: rhubarb. When I get my hands on it, I treasure it. People who love pie and crumbles are probably familiar with the rosy fruit, but for those who aren't, rhubarb comes in long stalks that look like blushing celery.

Rhubarb is extremely tart, and so it's mostly cooked down with sugar to temper its bite. Biting into a stalk of rhubarb in its raw state would probably scrunch my face the way a sour Warhead candy used to. I'm guessing. I've never been brave enough to sink my teeth into uncooked rhubarb.

Instead, I chop the stalks and toss them in a bowl until they're glittering with sugar. I roast the fruit until it slumps under the weight of the oven's heat and a layer of buttery, brown crumble. Rhubarb can also be cooked down into a concentrated syrup that adds oomph and a rosy tint to cocktails or lemonade.

For unexpected brunches at my house, I try to keep a batch of biscuits in the freezer ready to go. To change it up in the spring, I decided to keep the freezer stocked with rhubarb scones instead of plain biscuits. This is a simple scone dough studded with rhubarb, but it's enough to make mornings special. These would be especially pretty and well-received for an upcoming Mother's Day brunch at home.

The first time I made these scones, my husband and I ate four of them in one day. The remaining two were tucked away unbaked in the freezer for a future scone emergency.

Ileana Morales Valentine can be reached at [email protected]


Rhubarb Scones

Rhubarb scones are best the day they are baked, but they can also be stored unbaked and tightly wrapped in the freezer for up to a month or two. Rhubarb will likely be more abundant when it is at its peak in June, but it is starting to pop up now in early May. I've found fresh rhubarb in local grocery stores like Publix and Whole Foods, and you can also find and use it frozen.

3 stalks rhubarb

½ cup sugar, divided

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon coarse salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

to ¾ cup whole milk or heavy cream

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice rhubarb stalks ¼ inch thick. Toss in a small bowl with 3 tablespoons of the sugar.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl or bowl of food processor. Cut butter into flour mixture by hand until butter is the size of small peas. Blend in ¼ cup of the sugar. Blend in sliced rhubarb. Mix in vanilla extract and milk until a soft dough forms. Start with ⅔ cup milk, adding up to ¾ cup if needed for dough to come together. Dough will be sticky.

Transfer dough to a flat surface dusted with flour and flatten it to an even ½-inch-thick round. Cut dough into 6 triangular shapes. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and arrange on a sheet pan. I like to pop the arranged sheet pan in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes before baking to give the butter a chance to cool again after working with the dough. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes about 6 scones.


Everyday Entertaining: Make rhubarb scones to stock away for a springtime brunch 05/02/17 [Last modified: Friday, April 28, 2017 5:21pm]
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