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Artisan Pastries Fresh From My Oven

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Written by foodie pam   
Sunday, 14 March 2010
ImageThe more I cook and bake, the more I yearn to make as many things as I can myself, at home.  I admit, part of it is the control of determining what goes in my food, but a bigger part is simply the pleasure I gain from knowing I made something and it's as good, if not better, than most things I can buy in the store.  

Bread making has really pushed me along this path and Ciril Hitz, the author of one of my favorite bread making books, has probably had the most influence on my bread making abilities since it is his book that got me started making bread.  

Late last year, his latest book - Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads was published.  Now I'm not a big pastry eater, sweets early in the day generally don't do it for me, yet this is a Ciril Hitz book, so I had to check it out.  As always, Ciril is a great teacher.  And, as in his first book Baking Artisan Bread, this is a treasure with recipes for key items that will get you started on a pastry making journey while allowing you to make some wonderful recipes.  

The recipe that caught my eye the most was Ginger Scones, partially, I admit, because scones are a bit less sweet than some other pastries.  But more importantly, my friend Carolyn Jung over at FoodGal absolutely loves ginger. The 'ginger lovers' hint for this recipe (add ginger to the crumb topping) immediately made me think of Carolyn and I had to try them.  

I already have my eyes set on making some of the other recipes, several of which will make a great breakfast treat to have the next time family visits.  I'm also making the English Muffins as soon as I can get my hands on 12 inexpensive crumpet rings.  I mean, how neat would it be to make your own English muffins?  Hmm, perhaps that's a fall experiment with some fresh homemade jam - no worries, whenever I make it I'll let you know how it goes.

Ginger Scones

From Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads: Sweet and Savory Baking for Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond by Ciril Hitz (Quarry Books 2009)

YIELD:    14 round scones or (3" [7.6 cm] diameter)

BAKING TEMPERATURE:     350°F (180°C, gas mark 4) convection mode

BAKING TIME:    15 to 18 minutes

Ginger is a spice derived from the root of the ginger plant native to Southeast Asia. It can be bought whole, pickled, dried, ground, or in this case, candied. Candied ginger provides the perfect combination of warmth and sweetness to dress up a basic scone, while being moist and tender enough to add a nice texture, too. Herbalists recognize its ability to heal and soothe, while culinarians capitalize on its distinct strong flavor in a full range of dishes, from appetizers to entrées to desserts-ginger even finds its way into beverages and cocktails.

Ingredient, Metric/Weight/Volume

  • All-purpose* or bread flour, 440 g/15.5 oz/3½ cups
  • Granulated sugar, 55 g/1.9 oz/¼ cup
  • Salt, 4 g/0.1 oz/½ tsp
  • Baking powder, 18 g/0.63 oz/2 tbsp
  • Unsweetened butter, 148 g/5.2 oz/10 tbsp
  • Eggs, whole, 82 g/2.9 oz/1 egg + 1 egg white**
  • Buttermilk, 231 g/8.1 oz /1 cup
  • Candied ginger, 110 g/3.8 oz/1 cup
  • Egg Wash
  • Crumb Topping  (optional, see below)

*When using all-purpose flour, remember to hold back a bit of liquid.
**You can reserve the egg yolk to make an egg wash.

1. Preheat a convection oven to 350°F (180°C, gas mark 4).

2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder.

3. Slice the cold butter into small cubes (approximately 1 tablespoon [14 g] each). Using your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter pieces are no larger than a pea.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.

5. Make a depression in the center of the crumbly dry ingredients and pour the liquid ingredients into this well.

6. Using a rubber spatula or a plastic dough scraper, blend the two together by folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

7. When the batter just comes together and is still a little lumpy, add the candied ginger and hand mix briefly.

8. Place the batter on a flour-dusted surface and fold together using your hands, until the batter is manageable. Do not overwork the batter.

9. Shape into a large ball. Press down or roll until 5?8 inch (1.6 cm) thick. Using a 3-inch (7.6 cm)
biscuit or circle cutter, cut out rounds. Gently fold the excess dough together and press down or roll out again to continue cutting out shapes.

10. Place the scones on a parchment-lined half sheet pan or cookie sheet and let rest for 30 minutes.

11. Brush with egg wash. If desired, prepare Crumb Topping (see below) and sprinkle on top before baking (optional). Bake in the preheated convection oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet pan or cookie sheet. You can place the scones on a wire rack to cool if you need to reuse the sheet pan.

Crumb Topping

From Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads: Sweet and Savory Baking for Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond by Ciril Hitz (Quarry Books 2009)

A versatile crumb topping-perfect on top of muffins, quick breads, and more! Makes about 2 1/3 cups (398 g).

  • Ingredient    Metric    Weight    Volume
    Bread or all-purpose flour   160 g/5.64 oz/1 1/3 cup
    Light brown sugar    120 g/4.23 oz/½ cup
    Ground cinnamon    1.5 g/0.05 oz/3/4 tsp
    Salt    0.6 g/0.02 oz/1/8 tsp
    Unsalted butter    115 g/4 oz/½ cup
    Baking powder    0.6 g /0.02 oz/1/8 tsp

Combine all the ingredients in the mixing bowl of a 5-quart (5 L) stand mixer, and use a paddle attachment to blend together until the desired texture is achieved. Take care not to over mix. This can also be done by hand using a pastry cutter or by using two sharp knives, finishing with your hands.

About Baking Artisan Pastries and Breads

ImageBaking Artisan Pastries and Breads offers illustrated recipes that cater to all breakfast needs: from muffins ready within the hour to more decadent treats, such as lemon brioche doughnuts and chocolate croissants. The formulas are generally progressive-the easier recipes are at the beginning and more complex ones are later. The step-by-step full-color process shots of techniques and inviting beauty shots of finished products coupled with clear directions will instill confidence in even the most novice baker. A short (20-30 minute) DVD accompanies the book, adding an invaluable level of instruction.

Available at

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.


Last Updated ( Monday, 15 March 2010 )
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