Bread of the Month: Savoring a fruitful scone

sconeapl05[M]ove over peanut butter and jelly. Apples and cheese go together almost as well, maybe even better. I’ve long revered this pairing, whether on a simple fruit and cheese board, or a melted wedge of golden cheddar atop warm apple pie. It just works…the cold, tart, crisp sweetness of the apple; the pungent tanginess of the cheese. They complement each other so well.

So when I was shown a recipe recently for an apple-cheese scone that not only incorporated chunks of apple and apple butter, along with apple slices for garnish, but also used my new favorite cheese — Gruyere — I was itching for August as the perfect time to make them.

apl01After a meager apple crop last year (idle seasons happen, let’s face it), I was pleased and found myself monitoring the progress of this year’s more plentiful fruit. It’s not a huge tree, but as long as it decides to produce apples, I will celebrate and enjoy them. I chose a few Granny Smiths and Macintosh for the scones (the grafted tree produces a different kind from each limb).

sauteapl01Chunks of Granny Smith apples are first sauteéd in butter to slightly cook them (not too soft). Then dry ingredients are blended with cold butter chunks and the whole bowl is chilled.

Apple butter (let’s not ever forget how delicious apple butter is, shall we?) is whisked with cream (yum!), then poured over and blended, along with the apple chunks, with the dry ingredients. I decided after the reviewing the recipe and discovering the Gruyere cheese was to put on top of the scones only to add some into the dough.aplescn03

The dough is rolled out to a nice thickness, cut into squares (you can feel the cutter slice through the apples…mmmm), then those squares are cut diagonally into triangles.

A generous mound of Gruyere (if you have not tried this cheese, you must) is sprinkled atop each triangle. Then some apple slices (peelings on) are added for garnish, then more cheese!

aplscone04Baked to a golden brown — and heavenly smelling — the scones plump up and glisten with melted Gruyere. Their flavor is a bountiful reward. Buttery and tender, ripe and full of apple chunks and deeper apple taste from the apple butter, the cheese atop adds that savory richness. Morning, noon or night (even better the second day), these scones are a recipe well worth picking.

Apple-Gruyere Scones
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine
Makes 4 3-1/2 inch squares, or 8 triangles

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, chilled
1/2 cup apple butter
2 cups diced apple
Thinly sliced apple for garnish
2 cups, loosely packed, grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Sift all dry ingredients together, dice cold butter and toss in sifted dry ingredients. Chill this mixture for 25 minutes.

While the mixture chills, whisk the apple butter and cream together. In a sauté pan, sweat diced apples over medium heat, about 5 minutes (do not overcook, apples should not be soft). Remove apples from heat and let cool.

Fit a stand mixer with a paddle and on medium-low speed paddle cold diced butter and dry ingredients until butter is broken into smaller pieces. Mix in apple butter-cream mixture, followed by diced apples until just incorporated, being careful not to over mix the dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out 1/25” thick. Cut into 3.5” squares and then cut each square diagonally into a triangle wedge.

Garnish each triangle with Gruyere, layer thinly sliced apples over cheese, and give another sprinkling of Gruyere over the triangle (you want some apple to peek through).

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.

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