I think the weather finally turned to Fall here in the Pacific Northwest, even though we’ve technically been on Fall for quite a while. For this month, I thought I’d make something that isn’t too hard to make; something that you can enjoy with a warm beverage in the morning.
There is a place in the neighborhood where I work that has the best fig scones, although they also make other things that become the stars, and their scones get overshadowed by the more popular items. But what I like about their fig scones is that they are very cake-like and tender on the inside with a harder surface on the outside. I wanted to recreate them, even using dried figs like they do, but these turned out to be a lot craggier on the outside than the ones that they sell. I think it’s the demerara sugar I used.
I used this recipe from The Kitchn, as a guide, and discovered that cragginess in a scone isn’t a bad quality for a scone to have. If you don’t have demerara or turbinado sugar, they will still be good, just not as craggy. I like that word! CRAGGY!
I know it kind of looks like I just busted out a bucket of KFC extra crispy chicken thighs, but trust me, they are everything you want in a scone! Craggy on the outside, with an almost cake-like texture on the inside. The secret is to use about two-thirds cake flour with a third of regular AP flour. Less AP flour means less gluten development.
And I’ve never had unsulfured and unsweetened dried mission figs before, but they are now my preferred type of dried fig! (Ideally I think fresh figs would be the way to go, but one can’t always find fresh figs, especially in the middle of Fall!) I lucked out finding these variety of dried figs at the local Safeway closest to me.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks, cold, almost frozen
2 cups cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried figs, unsulfured and unsweetened, if possible
about 1/3 cup lemon juice to soak figs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup half and half, cold, plus more for brushing on tops
1/4 cup Demerara sugar or turbinado sugar
Cut up butter into small cubes and freeze the butter, or at least until almost frozen.
Sift the cake flour, all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, together into one bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove the woody parts of each figs, if needed, and soak all of them in a small bowl with the lemon juice. Refrigerate.
Whisk together in a bowl the egg, the vanilla extract, and the half and half. Reserve a few tablespoons of half and half for brushing the tops of the scones
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
When butter is sufficiently very cold, almost frozen, scatter the butter cubes over the flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula, or with your fingers, to mix the butter into the flour, until it resembles coarse sand. Add the egg mixture to the flour and continue to stir with the rubber spatula. use a butter knife or fork to remove any wet flour sticking to the spatula.
Remove the figs from the lemon juice, discarding any excess lemon juice, chop each of the figs in half, or quarters, if preferred, and add to the flour mixture.
Develop into a dough without mixing too much. Divide into two equal pieces of dough. Pat one dough into a circle about 7-8 inch in diameter, then cut into 6 equal wedges or pis slice shaped pieces. Do the same for the second piece of dough, for a total of 12 scones.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush top surfaces with more half and half.
Sprinkle with Demerara or turbinado sugar. Bake for about 18-20 minutes until tops are golden brown.
Serve with butter, clotted cream, and or some jam, if desired.