I am on to you, Kim Rizk. I am all over your scheme like white on rice. You put a bunch of mouth-watering, down home recipes in your folksy little cookbook, and get everybody all charmed and relaxed. “Awww,” they think. “This is just like being at the Hay Day Country Market! And now I can recreate those charming breads in my very own home. I won’t even have to go there anymore!”
But then, in the confines of the home kitchen, something goes horribly awry. Rizk – culinary evil genius – has left out a key detail, meaning that the recipe will, in some way, be screwed up.
The unsupsecting chef — crestfallen — is then forced to go to the Hay Day market and buy what s/he tried to make at home.
Brilliant, Rizk. But since the Hay Day has been long swallowed up by Balducci’s, all your subterfuge is for naught. Crime doesn’t pay, baby.
About the scones: the flavor, as usual, is delicious. The texture is moister and more dense than a traditional scone, thanks to the ham and cheese. Its crumb is tender. As for taste, the ham and cheddar take center stage, complimenting each other nicely. Then, at the end of your bite, there’s a subtle cayenne kick. It’s good stuff.
I made these to accompany dinner, but they’d make a very nice breakfast as well. (In fact, were my breakfast.)
Sticking to the baking sheet, however, is unacceptable.
So damn you, Kim Rizk. Damn you to hell.
Ham and Cheddar Scones
2 cups flour
2 tsp. Sugar
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. cayenne
6 Tbsp, unsalted butter, chilled
3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz. baked ham, diced
Scant 2/3 c. milk plus 2 Tbsp. more for glaze
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cayenne together in a large bowl or food processor. Cut ht butter into several pieces and add them to the dry ingredient. Using a pastry blender, 2 knives or the food processor*, work in the butter until the bits are no larger than small grains of rice. Transfer to a large bowl*, add the cheese and ham and toss, separating any clumps of cheese that form.
Whisk the egg and 2/3 cup milk together in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients. Stir until the dry ingredients are moistened and a soft dough forms (the dough should be slightly tacky and crumbly). With lightly floured hands, gather the dough together. Using the palm of you hand, press it out onto a parchment lined baking sheet** to form an 8 inch round.
For crisp edges, use a long, sharp knife to divine the round into 8 pieces and pull the edges apart. For tender edges, leave the round intact and simply score the division with the knife. Brush with 2 tbsp milk and bake until lightly browned and nearly doubled in size, 18-20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp.
*I mixed everything in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. -– LR
**Make sure you don’t follow the cookbook directions – as I did – and just slap the dough on an ungreased cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil. –LR