Saturday 20 October 2012

Apple and Nutmeg Scones

With all of the strange weather we've had here in the UK over the growing season many crops have been early, late or just downright confused as to what they should be doing and when. One of the sad things is that this year's apple harvest is very poor and there may be shortages later on in the season. I love apples and I'm very much hoping that they will still be available for a good while yet, but I guess that some years are always going to be worse than others. It's very odd though - round here (Northwest England) other crops have been difficult - my mum's friend has a tree that is usually groaning under the weight of plums - the branches dip to the ground and have to be supported, yet this year she barely had a single plum.

Anyway, whatever happens later in the season, the new apples are here for now and I intend to make the most of them while they are around. Perfectly in season and all of the chilly weather recently (and the dark mornings closing in - I hate getting up in the dark) has put me in mind of warming autumnal flavours, and for me, that means spice.

Apples take to spicing so well, and I decided to use a combination of mixed spice and then give it a little spin with a bit of nutmeg. This is one of my less used spices simply because I'm a little lazy and nutmeg needs grating just before you use it for the best flavour. The whole nutmegs keep for years, but the fragrance and beautiful aroma of this spice is lost quickly after grating.

Apple and Nutmeg Scones
250g ricotta cheese
a little milk (or water)
60g caster sugar
50g light muscovado sugar
280g self raising flour
70g butter
1/4tsp mixed spice
about 1/4 of a small nutmeg, grated
2 small coxes apples, cored but not peeled, cut into small cubes
demerara sugar to sprinkle

- Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Place the ricotta in a small bowl, beat in the 60g of caster sugar and set aside.
- Place the flour in a large bowl and rub in the butter (I used fridge cold butter here)
- Add the muscovado sugar and the spices to the flour and mix well, breaking up any lumps of sugar.
- Add the apples to the flour mixture.
- Add the ricotta mixture to the flour mixture and bring together as a dough. You will probably need a little extra liquid - I found my mixture quite dry and as I don't usually have milk around, I used a little water to moisten it. I didn't measure it but probably about 4tbsp.
- Tip the dough onto a work surface and knead briefly - more just turning the dough over to bring it together. Pat out into a large square about 1 1/2" or 3cm thick.
- Cut into 16 pieces and transfer to the baking sheet. Scatter with demerara sugar.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden.
- Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.

It has to be said that these weren't the lightest scones I've ever made, but I'm still enjoying them very much - the warm autumnal spicing, with the unusual addition of nutmeg along with the juicy chunks of apple make a very good combination for a snack time treat or would be great served with some chunks of tasty cheese for a more substantial snack.

I am entering these into alphabakes, hosted this month by Ros of The More than Occasional Baker (cohosted by Caroline of Caroline Makes). The letter this month is N for nutmeg.

I am also entering them into Simple and in Season, founded by Ren of Fabulicious Food and hosted this month by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen


Suelle said...

These sound delicious and using nutmeg and mixed spice is a nice change from the more usual cinnamon - although I like that flavour combination too!

Unknown said...

They sound perfect! Any excuse for a scone though. Pears are good in scones as they tend to retain a bit of bite which is nice. I know what you mean about the strange crops though. There are no sloe berries or damsons anywhere around here this year. Really odd.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Beautiful! With flavours like those who needs them to be light?

Chele said...

What a genius scone recipe. I've been forcing myself to practice making scones more often (being as they are my nemesis) so these are going to be added to the baking list. Thanks for sharing.

celia said...

Lovely, C! I haven't tried nutmeg with apple before, but it sounds very appealing!

My Kitchen Stories. said...

I love anything with apple. I am sure I would eat one too many of these delicious looking scones

The Caked Crusader said...

Oh yum - I think nutmeg is such an underrated spice.

Karen S Booth said...

Perfect scones and such a great entry for alphabakes too! I adore scones and apples and nutmeg together is wonderful!

Unknown said...

I've been having a bit of a scone craving (as yet unsatisfied) recently and these look great

Johanna GGG said...

sound like my sort of scones but I have a love-hate relationship with apples in baking - find it hard to get it right but when I do I love them - sorry to hear about the harvests not being great this year


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