Weekend brunches certainly call for something special and last weekend, for the bank holiday was no exception.
On long weekends, breakfast is always the meal I look forward to most. It is the time for my family catch up. We spend much of the meal chatting and squabble over scrambled eggs, local bacon, baked mushrooms, fresh orange juice, green smoothies and never ending pots of earl grey. It is also an excuse for me to guinea pig some of my newest recipes on a gaggle of hungry mouths.
They are always grateful and their feedback is always brutally honest, pushing me to make the best dishes I can. Exactly the sort of family any chef could hope for. These little scones were happily a success.
It is a blessing and curse that the things I love most, (muffins, crumpets and scones) are all some of the hardest things to buy good quality of. Often in bakeries they are tough, over baked or left out a little long. They also tend to be the most processed baked ingredients you can buy in supermarkets.
I find that sourcing great scones made with wholegrains, that are delicious and don’t compromise on flavour is practically impossible and unfortunately my local farmers isn’t everyday… This just means making them at home. Which I am certainly all in favour of.
I like to use a mix of white and wholemeal spelt, with a 2/3 ratio. The white spelt give lift and rise and the wholemeal adds nuttiness and flavour. I find this the best balance to get a good rise. There is nothing worse than flat scones.
Swiss Chard Spelt Scones Recipe
The scones are undoubtedly best straight from the oven, with a simple slick of good quality organic butter, but if you are in the brunching mood, they make a lovely base to perch a poached egg on top of!
- A handful (approx 100g swiss chard) stalks removed and finely chopped
- 200g spelt flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 30g butter
- 100g mature cheddar
- 50g plain yoghurt
- 100ml milk, of choice*
- 2 tsp dijon
- pinch nutmeg
Sauté the chard in a little butter in a saucepan over a low heat until soft. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220°C, fan 200°C. Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and half a teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips then toss in the chard and the grated cheddar with a fork. Briefly mix
In a bowl whisk the egg white, milk and yoghurt, add this to the dry ingredients, saving the yolk. Using a fork mix to a sticky dough.
Flour the worktop, scrape the dough onto it, then knead it gently. Pat the dough out to about 3-4cm thick and lightly flour the top. Scones can rise by as little as a quarter when baked but spread considerably and still taste great, so try to keep the dough quite thick if you want them tall.
Cut out the scones using the cutter, press down smoothly in one go. Lift the cutter out then run around the inside with a knife to loosen the dough. The cheese and cream make the dough extra sticky, so cutting is tricky. If you’re in a rush just cut into squares with a knife. Place on the baking tray, spaced 3-4 cm apart, brush with a little beaten yolk, thinned slightly with water.
Bake the scones for 15 -20 minutes until golden. Serve warm with butter, or with alongside eggs and crispy bacon for breakfast.
* I used almond milk in the recipe