They say, when life gives you lemons; make lemonade. Well, dear idiom inventors, what do you do when life gives you pears? And not just a plastic grocery bag of pears - a huge brown bag of them every week for three weeks (thanks, CSA). Well, I say, when life gives you pears, you make some damn delicious pear scones.
Getting three pounds of pears wasn't exactly what I anticipated this season, but it seemed I couldn't eat them fast enough. And while pears are delicious on their own, there's only so many yogurt adornments, salad additions and snack time treats before you shout "no more!" Gliding past the whole poached pear thing, which was recommended to me by many a co-worker, I began to research ways I could turn pears into something more comforting. Fruit is great and all, but fall means hot cider, cozy sweaters, crunchy leaves. And cinnamon baked goods.
There's something really warming about cinnamon. I was in Trader Joe's the other day, braving the Sunday check-out lines when I smelled the cinnamon brooms they were selling and was immediately brought back to Octobers as a kid. Most years, my mom would buy a cinnamon broom for the fireplace hearth, and the whole first floor would smell toasty and warm from September all the way through Thanksgiving. When Rina and I baked these magnificent scones, the whole apartment smelled like cinnamon and it reminded me of just that. Even though the weather has cheated us of a true fall thus far, the eats, treats and feels of fall are still very much around.
These scones came to us on a day where nothing seemed to go right. No, this wasn't the day Rina shattered a Pyrex in her oven (we're both really good at physics, clearly), but things weren't coming together as they should have. We ended up with a giant clumpy blob instead of caramelized onion jam (we're still working on that one) and someone (not pointing fingers, Rina!) spilled an entire bag of chocolate chips on the floor.
In the case of the scones, things literally weren't coming together. The dough was so wet, that there was no way we were going to have scones that were light and fluffy. For all the faith we have in Deb of Smitten Kitchen (and that is a blind, unmatched faith), we knew we were going to have to wing it. Rina, being the food genius she is, managed to fill out this dough with the perfect amount of flour, and, when the scones were finally pulled from the oven, we reaped the rewards of our floury work.
I suppose it goes to show that a little improv goes a long way. Fake it till you make it is, honestly, my life motto. And making it sometimes never happens, so, you end up, you know, being an adult and forgetting to pay your cable bill on time. Or leaving your kitchen light on all day. Or realizing you have to get out of bed before the sun rises because work. Thankfully, these scones helped me feel a little better about the mishaps of adulthood - and they'll help you, too. I swear. When life gives you pears, friends. When life gives you pears.
ROASTED PEAR CINNAMON SCONES
Yield: 6 giant scones - you can totally make them smaller and bake them for slightly less time
Active Cook Time: 25m | Inactive Cook Time: 50m | Total Cook Time: 1h 5m
Category: Baked, Breakfast, Fall
Source: adapted from smitten kitchen
Special Equipment: pastry brush
3 somewhat firm pears (about 1 pound)
3-5 cups flour (see explanation below)
¼ cup white sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ - 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt, plus a bit more for egg wash
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
¼ cup heavy cream
2 large eggs - 1 for dough, 1 for egg wash
½ cup powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons pear juice, depending on how thick or thin you like your glaze
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
Roast the pears: preheat the oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel the pears and core with a spoon or tiny melon baller, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in an even layer on the baking sheet and roast until they are dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. Slide the parchment paper with the pears onto a cooling rack and allow to cool.
Prepare the dough: in the bowl of a large mixer, whisk 2 cups flour, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until combined. Add the cooled pear, butter bits, heavy cream and 1 egg. Using the paddle attachment, turn the mixer to medium and beat until just combined. If your dough looks really wet, which ours did, add flour ½ cup at a time until your dough is no longer tacky and can be formed into a ball in your hands. It's important to not overmix the dough, so after each flour addition only mix for a few seconds.
Shape the scones: on a well-floured work surface, pat the dough into a 6-inch round. With a knife or honestly just your hand in a karate-chop shape, cut into 6 wedges (or 8, or 10, depending on how big or small you want your scones). Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and place them at least 2 inches apart - these babies grow! Whisk the remaining egg with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of water. Brush the egg wash generously onto the scones. Bake the scones until they're golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Prepare the glaze: while the scones are baking, create your glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, pear juice, cinnamon and salt. The amounts up there are subjective so that you can make the glaze as thick or thin, cinnamony or not so much, as you want. When the scones have cooled a bit, drizzle the scones with the glaze, or dunk them right in there.
To serve: pile on a plate and go to town.
To keep: these scones will keep very well in a plastic zippered bag or container for a few days.