Alright. Spring is officially upon us, and we have the produce to show for it. We also have spring cleaning to show for it (there have been a few updates around these parts…check out the cleaned up recipe page as well as about/contact page!).
Rhubarb always marks the start of spring and summer for me…it conjures up memories of sweet-yet-tangy rhubarb crisp my grandma would make, and serve with that big bucket of vanilla-flavored ice cream, usually purchased from Pick N’ Save or Kwik Trip (ahem, those empty ice cream buckets come in useful: storage for tupperware lids, containers for picking berries, and a place to store your raisin filled cookies from grandma around the holidays).
The smell of cut rhubarb takes me back to walking into my grandma’s garage and kitchen in early summer. Kinda funky. Kinda musky. Earthy. Not without the flare of cow manure, and perhaps some fermenting apple notes, too. I love this smell, and it will always, always take me back to running around the farm when I was little, along with my sister and cousins. Barefoot and fancy-free. We had the world figured out…that is, until grandma told us it was time to feed the chickens….
But after, oh but after, we’d always get a treat. The process filling up the 5-gallon pails with water in the milkhouse, putting them in a wagon, and sloppily-rolling them to the chicken coop…spilling water all over our feet in the process, then negotiating with the clucking hens, was a fun one. Exchanging food and water for eggs, usually still warm from the hens sitting on them. Yep, school was out, and it was summer. And that was usually the time grandma would have a pan of rhubarb crisp out, ready to serve with that big bucket of vanilla ice cream, after feeding the chickens.
Ok, ok. This isn’t rhubarb crisp. These are rhubarb scones, with buckwheat flour, since didn’t ya know these guys are in the same botanical family? It was a natural pairing in my mind. Along with organic cultured butter, organic cane sugar, and homemade almond milk. As scones should, they come together in a flash, and bake up craggly-topped with crunchy sugar. Eaten very early while the wind still has the night chill in it, with a hot cup of coffee, these scones help usher in summer in a very laid-back but indulgent way. The lemon zest and nutmeg in these pair so well with the nutty buckwheat flour and tangy, sharp rhubarb. And I suppose you could use some other fat instead of butter, say, organic virgin coconut oil, but I haven’t tried this yet.
And, what is more: you can make a batch (or two…), freeze, wrap scones individually and then bake strait from the freezer a week, a month or two months down the road when you really just need a buttery scone to pair with your morning coffee.
So, whatcha waiting for? I bet you can still find some rhubarb in your neighbor’s yard, or at your local farmer’s market. Get on these…you won’t be sorry.
Lightly adapted from the Bojon Gourmet and Food52.
Rhubarb and Buckwheat Scones // makes 8 scones // nut-free; soy-free
- 3 large stalks rhubarb, about 2 to 2 ½ cups (200-250g), sliced into ¼” to ⅓ ” thickness
- 1 TB sugar
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour (150g)
- 1 ¼ cup buckwheat flour (178g)
- 1 TB baking powder (12g)
- ½ tsp sea salt (3g)
- ¼ cup sugar (minus 1 TB from above = 39g)
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Zest of ½ large lemon
- 1 stick butter, cut into small-ish chunks, very cold (straight from fridge)
- ¾ cup almond milk or cream/moo milk, plus 1 TB for brushing tops
- 4 tsp demerara sugar, or coconut sugar, for sprinkling on top of scones
- Toss the rhubarb with 1 TB of the sugar and lemon zest, let sit while you get on with the recipe. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and nutmeg together.
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using pastry cutter, or, use your fingers. Butter chunks should be about the size of peas, with some a little larger and a little smaller. Using your hands at the very end to rub the butter between your fingers and thumbs to create sheets of butter is a good move, but not necessary.
- Stir in the rhubarb, and then the almond milk ¼ cup at a time, drizzling over the dry flour bits. Mix briefly, but confidently, until no dry patches remain. The dough will be messy and craggly-that is what you want. Turn out the mess onto a lightly floured board, gather the dough, incorporate with a turn or two to get dry patches moistened by the rest of the dough. Then, pat into a 6” disc that is 1.5” high.
- Cut into 8 triangles, and place on a lined sheet tray. Freeze for 45 minutes (or, freeze all the way, wrap individually once firm, place in a bag or container and bake off as directed when desired).
- Preheat oven to 425F. When heated, take scones from freezer, brush with almond milk, and sprinkle each with ½ tsp demerara sugar.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and fragrant. Frozen scones may need a minute or two more. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then enjoy! Scones are best eaten the day-of, but can be revived in a warm oven a day or two later.
The stuff you’ll need. You may be half asleep, but that is the perfect time to scuff about and make scones. Before anyone else is up. Just as the sun is getting into place…this is the time for scones (and also a cup of coffee…).
Chop that rhubarb..psst…you can use a kitchen scissors for this…save the cutting board and knife. Toss with bit of sugar and lemon zest. Let sit…get the juices flowing.
Sift the dry stuff into a big bowl…
Cut up the cold butter. Chunks of fat. Nothing but the best.
Add the milk…make a shaggy mess. Don’t freak out. You’ve got this. Just a scone. They are like the sloths of the pastry world…chill, a little fuzzy around the edges, slow moving. Wait, what? You get it. Just don’t over mix the dough. K?
Pat into a disc, divide into 8 geometric-like shapes.
Disperse! Freeze for 45 min.
Brush, sprinkle, bake. Wait. Brew more coffee. Preheat oven.
Admire the craggly top of crisp sugar. Dunking into coffee is not required, but recommended.