Several days ago on Twitter, Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef posted something about enjoying fresh apricots, and it got me thinking. I had never eaten a fresh apricot in my life. Apricots are not grown locally here in north Florida, so I’ve never encountered them in the abundance that I can find local products such as strawberries, citrus, and peaches. I’ve had plenty of the tart-but-sweet dried apricots, but never a fresh one. So, I bought some, and I took my first glorious taste.
No longer a fresh apricot virgin, I wanted to put the bag of apricots to use in a creative way. I debated making a tart, but we had plans for the next couple of nights and I didn’t want it to sit, uneaten, on my counter for that long. After trying to sort out whether I could use fresh apricots for scones, I decided to give it a whirl. Since almost every recipe I found using apricots in scones called for dried apricots – which seem much sweeter to me than the fresh ones – I started by roasting the apricots to try to concentrate the sweetness in the fruit.
The roasted apricots were definitely sweeter than the fresh, so roasting turned out to be a great idea. Roasting also caused the apricots to release a lot of juice, so the dough was a bit of a pain to deal with – sticky and messy.
But, oh my. These scones were delicious. The sweetness was very subtle, and I felt lucky every time I bit into a piece that contained a chunk of roasted apricot. Served with a heaping spoonful of apricot preserves, these scones made for a fantastic breakfast. And morning snack. And afternoon snack. You get the idea.
Roasted Apricot Scones
Yield: 10 scones
3 fresh apricots
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk, plus extra for brushing
pinch kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut apricots in half and remove pit. Place on parchment or foil lined cookie sheet and roast apricots for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool a bit, then place apricot halves on a dish and place in refrigerator to chill. Once chilled, dice apricots into 1/8-inch pieces.
Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. In food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, sugar, and butter just until the mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. In a second mixing bowl, beat eggs and milk with a fork. Add diced apricots to the milk and egg mixture and add a pinch of salt. Stir well, then add the liquid mixture to the well in the center of the dry ingredients. Stir well, adding more milk if necessary, until the dough is soft and dry. If the dough feels too dry, add an extra splash of milk.
Dust a clean work surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough until it is 3/4-inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass, cut out 10 circles from the dough and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Try not to overwork dough when rolling and re-rolling the dough to get all 10 circles cut out. Brush tops of each scone with milk using a pastry brush. Bake in 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver's Fruit Scones recipe from Jamie's Food Revolution.