Epiphany: Fruit Scones and Cheesy Eggs
There are some good things about package mixes. Really. There are. I was never particularly fond of scones. They seemed too dry and just too much of a mouthful, like those huge muffins you can't escape these days. Then I was making up some "breakfast nook" gift baskets, and I came across packaged mix for Famous Fair Scones.
According to urban legend, these scones were served at the San Francisco World's Fair in 1915. An enterprising fellow from Washington got the recipe and set up concessions to sell them at fairs in his home state, where, let me tell you, they were a big hit from everything I can find. He then sold that recipe to the Fisher Flour Mills, also in Washington, and the rest seems to be history. End of history lesson.
I bought several bags of the scone mix but was reluctant to put it in a gift basket without trying it first. And there's some more history. They were divine. Even I loved them, as did the friends I had taste test them for me. Do I need to say that none of those bags of scone mix ever made it into a gift basket?
But, then, one dark and stormy night, I wanted tea and scones. Imagine my desolation when I discovered that my cupboard was bare. Thus began my search for a recipe for those babies. I eventually found an old Fisher Mills baking pamphlet on eBay and snatched it up. And, yes, right there, in the precious little booklet, was a recipe for scones. They weren't called Famous Fair Scones, but, when made, they were all but identical in taste, texture, and deliciousness.
Here's the version of the recipe I start with.
Famous Fair SconesIngredients
- 2 c. flour
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 3 scant tsp. baking powder
- 3 Tbsp. shortening
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2/3 c. milk
- dash salt
- Mix dry ingredients.
- Cut in shortening and butter.
- Add milk and stir gently until just mixed.
- Turn out on lightly floured board and knead lightly for 5 or 6 turns of the dough.
- Divide into thirds. Pat each into a 4-5” circle.
- Cut each third into quarters and place on a cookie sheet.
- You can let this rise up to 20 minutes if the room isn't too warm - don't want to lose all the oomph in the leavening.
- Bake at 425 degrees for about 7 minutes or until golden.
The recipe is tasty as is, but I generally make it into ginger-blueberry scones, with cut up crystallized ginger and Trader Joe's dried wild blueberries. I sprinkle the top with granulalated sugar before putting them in the oven, to give it a little crackle on top, and they are wonderful.
Wait! There's more. How could you doubt it? I like my scones fairly light and moist, so I substitute about a third of the flour with cake flour - Swansdown is the brand in my area, but King Arthur (and possibly other makers) also packages it for markets.
Sometimes I add some grated cheddar cheese and chopped olives/green onions/Ortega chilis for something less dessert-ish. They make a nice snack, but they're also good for little sandwiches - just make them round, slice the cooked scones horizontally, and there you go.
It was this cheese addition that gave me the epiphany of the title. Every time I made them with just blueberries, I had visions of cheesy scrambled eggs* in my head. What a yummy sandwich that would make, I thought. Just make the scones round for easier assembly. But what made it perfect was the inspiration to throw ham into the mix.
Specifically, I buy shaved ham at the deli, then scrunch up individual slices on cookie sheets, IOW, don't worry about lumps or wrinkles, and frizzle it in a hot oven (450°) for several minutes. You just want it to dry a bit and crisp up, so watch it so that it doesn't burn.
Slice each scone in half, put on a slice of frizzled ham, top with a scoop of eggs and the other half of the scone. It may sound strange, but it's delish.
Want another idea? Scramble your eggs with chopped chives and drop in teaspoon-size chunks of goat cheese when the eggs are almost done and stir gently. The heat of the eggs will make the cheese creamy and melty and give you lovely tangy bites of goodness as you eat. Serve on openface scones. Mmmmmm.
*Use grated cheddar (or cheese of your choice) and mix it into your eggs, a little at a time, as you scramble them over medium heat. It makes a creamy scramble with the cheese melted and incorporated throughout.