Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rum Raisin Scones

Some flavor combinations speak for themselves; rum raisin is one of them. Though this recipe requires a bit of preparation (you have to macerate the raisins and get them good and drunk) the baking experience has an interesting perk. As the scones bake the spiced sugar and cream topping caramelizes around the pastry, leaving the baker with little bits of candy to eat once the scrumptious treats have cooled down. Talk about just desserts...

Rum Raisin Scones
Recipe by Michelle Krell Kydd
Yield: Two Dozen

  •  4 cups all-purpose flour
  •  2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  •  4 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum-free)
  •  1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  •  2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cassia cinnamon (Chinese Tung-Ting variety)
  •  2 teaspoons ground green cardamom
  •  2/3 cup unsalted sweet butter (chilled)
  •  2 large organic eggs (beaten)
  •  1 cup heavy whipping cream plus 2 tablespoons Mexican vanilla extract (for wet scone mixture)
  •  1/3 cup heavy whipping cream plus 1 tablespoon Mexican vanilla extract (for brushing hand-formed scones)
  •  6 ounces Thompson seedless raisins (organic, jumbo)
  •  1 1/2 cups light rum plus 1 tablespoon Mexican vanilla extract (for soaking the raisins)
  • For topping: 1/4 – 1/2 cup Spiced Vanilla Sugar from The Savory Spice Shop. To make your own mix 1/2 teaspoon cassia cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground green cardamom, a pinch of ground allspice and a pinch of mace with 1/2 cup organic turbinado sugar.
  •  The day before you bake the scones, fill a mason jar with raisins, vanilla and rum (just enough to cover the raisins). Keep in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Strain and reserve the rum for future infusions.
  •  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  •  Preheat oven to 375 degrees, dividing racks into thirds.
  •  In a large bowl, combine sifted flour, sugar, spices, baking powder and salt.
  •  Put butter on a cutting board and cut lengthwise, forming halves. Half the halves and cut into quarters. The bits of butter should look like square buds.
  •  Add butter to dry ingredients, coating well. Pinch each bud into flat petals and incorporate butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  •  In a small bowl, beat egg and vanilla. Incorporate cream (do not beat cream, gently mix). Add rum soaked raisins.
  • Gently mix dry ingredients with wet ones by hand.
  • Form scones by hand and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. 12 scones (4 rows of 3) will fit on each of the baking sheets. 
  • Brush the tops of the scones with vanilla infused cream. Sprinkle each scone with spiced sugar.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, moving trays form top to bottom and reversing when half done to ensure even baking. The bottom of the scones should be a light tan when they are done. Serve scones warm or set on cooling racks and refrigerate/freeze for future use.
Mexican vanilla has a rich and creamy quality that is well suited to spiced pastry. Spiced Vanilla Sugar from the Savory Spice Shop is preferred as a topping for these scones. Photograph of scones by Michelle Krell Kydd, editor of Glass Petal Smoke.