Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pear Season

Not only are the apples ripe early, but the pears are too. They are usually ready to be harvested (hard and green) in early September. If you let them turn golden on the tree you cut in to them and find that the inner part is browning and pasty in texture. Found that out the hard way our first year here. They do much better if you pick them green and let them ripen in a brown paper bag. Did that a week ago, so we now have a lot of ripe pears...the Bartlett variety.

Recently I found the site of the Pie Lady, Brittany. It's a great blog if you like to bake and she has some great recipes. Go check it out!! You'll be glad you did. Then come back and see what I did with her recipe.
One that caught my eye was for Buttermilk scones with fruit. This morning I decided that I'd make some Buttermilk Scones with Pears for dinner. I used her recipe to jump from, but made a lot of changes.

I like oatmeal a lot. Have it most mornings, cooked in the microwave. For the scones I decided to grind up some oatmeal to replace part of the flour. It adds a nutty taste and some good nutrients. Healthy eating and scones are not really partners, but there's nothing wrong with having some of the ingredients be nutritious. I replaced some of the white flour with whole wheat flour, too. The finished scones are darker that way, and sort of homey.

Sweetie loves molasses, so I decided to replace the sugar with molasses, except for a sprinkle on the tops for decoration. Having eaten the finished product, I think adding about 1/2 cup of sugar, plus the molasses, would have been better, so that's how I wrote up the recipe.

Pears go really well with almonds, so I included some almond extract. Buttermilk provides tang, butter and eggs do their thing well. Salt, baking powder and baking soda provide flavor and leavening. Pears and golden almonds provide the fruit.

The result is a light scone with great flavor, juicy bits of pear, chewy little raisins. If I were to do it again, I'd throw in some orange zest and/or finely chopped candied ginger for a little more pizazz. I might also put in a little more butter. These were more muffin like than scone like in texture. More fat might improve them and you can't beat the taste of real butter. i could have added it when I ate the scones, but I didn't. I did try some orange marmalade with them. It was a good combo.

Buttermilk Oat and Wheat Scones with Pears and Golden Raisins
Based loosely on Buttermilk Scones recipe by the Pie Lady, Brittany

1 egg (or ¼ cup egg substitute)
¼ cup molasses
½ teaspoon real vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups buttermilk

½ cup rolled oats (not instant)
2 ½ cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 oz. unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup fresh diced pears, peeled and cored first
1/3 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a measuring pitcher, whisk together the egg, molasses, vanilla, almond extract, and buttermilk. Put in the fridge while making the dry mix.

In the bowl of a food processor, whirl the rolled oats until a fairly fine flour is formed. Add the two flours, the sugar, the salt, the baking soda and the baking powder. Pulse to blend. Add the cold butter and pulse briefly until the mixture is crumbly. (Elle’s note: the butter almost disappears…that’s OK).

Put the dry mixture into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center, pour in the liquid mixture and with your hands or a spoon, stir until about half way incorporated. Add the diced pears and the raisins and continue to mix, just until the dry mix is incorporated. Don’t over mix.

Turn the batter out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat into a long rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 8 squares. Then, cut each square diagonally so you have 16 scones. Place on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet and sprinkle with some sugar if desired. I used crystal sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the scones are brown and firm to the touch. Remove to a rack to cool.
Serve warm or cold, split and spread with butter or lemon curd. Some orange marmalade goes well, too.

Jazz It Up: These scones would also be good with a few tablespoons finely diced crystallized ginger, and/or a tablespoons of orange zest.


  1. I am so looking forward to pear season...for that means FALL.
    Yummy looking scones.

  2. These sound delicious. I also think some ginger would be a nice addition. Pear and ginger is a great combination.

  3. Oh, THOSE look tasty. I've been dying for some scones, and I can see the time is fast approaching when they'll have to be made!!

  4. I never really liked pears until a year or two ago. Now I love them, and I know I'd love these!

  5. Anonymous5:43 PM

    these sound (and look!) absolutely delicious. sometimes nothing is better on a crisp fall morning than a scone. and with that, nothing can beat the pear & raisin combination :)

  6. These sound wonderful. Pears always seem to intensify in flavour when baked. Added to me 'to make' pile.

  7. Elle, I left an award for you over at my blog. Please drop by and pick it up! Those scones look really tasty too!

  8. Peabody, Hope your cooler weather continues for a while...fall is on its way.

    KJ, pear and ginger is classic...shoulda thought of that.

    Tadmack, I'll bet yours will be even tastier...and healthier, too.

    Deborah, a good ripe pear is so good...glad you like 'em now.

    Megan, Thanks, I think you'd enjoy these.

    Katie, the pear flavor is there, but not toooo intense. The molasses calms it down (or overpowers ti, depends on if yo like molasses).

    Dharm, you are a prince! Thank you. I'll have to think carefully who to pass it on to.