Easy to dream

It's hard to say before it happens what kind of mother you'd like to be. Or maybe it's the other way around—easy to dream, hard to be. Either way, I hope one day that our baby will have this: memories of a kitchen where homemade baked goods are everyday, routine.

I know there will be a thousand things to do come one baby, maybe two eventually. There will be diapers to wash and tears to dry and books to read. But I hope there will also be mama and helpers in the kitchen: aprons tied, flour flying, oven warming up to 350. I hope there will be silly substitutions and big messes and amidst it all, discovery. That's the kind of kitchen I grew up in, and I was lucky.

In the meantime, we're already baking together—me and this baby. We have to keep ourselves well-fed while we wait and grow and giddily count the weeks til meeting. We need snacks for work and Alex does, too. Mostly, we bake portable things—scones and muffins with ingredients we trust: whole grain flours, pastured yogurt and butter, eggs from the girls in Wellfleet.

This week, we baked with buckwheat. We got the whole grains this year as part of our CSA, and I ground them down right away. After a few rounds of pancakes the flour sat in the freezer, untouched, until I saw a Figgy Buckwheat Scones recipe. I had fig butter in the fridge—made last fall with fruit from a friend's tree—and plenty of buckwheat. And so we mixed: buckwheat, all-purpose, whole wheat. We whisked in sugar, baking powder, salt, then cut in the butter—cold, salty. Finally we stirred in yogurt and cream, then rolled out the dough into a thick, sticky plank. We scooped the fig butter on top in big, seedy dollops—then spread it thin and rolled the dough into logs. When we cut them, the fig butter spiraled into the dough, wrapping.

Almost half of them disappeared straight out of the oven, instantly. The taste was just like the recipe said—a sophisticated Fig Newton: rich, ripe, winey. But a few days later, we're still snacking.

Soon enough it will be time for a new mess, another hot oven, and one more homebaked recipe.


I've adapted this recipe from one I found in Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. I liked her base, but I added whole wheat flour and substituted yogurt for half of the heavy cream. These scones are delicious straight out of the oven, or cooled and spread with a dollop of butter the next day.

1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1 cup fig butter

Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter and work it into the dry mixture by rubbing it between your fingers until it is in pea-size pieces. Pour in the cream and yogurt and mix until just combined.

Transfer the dough to a very well-floured surface. It will be sticky, so sprinkle some flour on top too. Use a rolling pin to shape it into a rectangle about 8 inches wide by 16 inches long by 3/4 of an inch thick.

Spread the fig butter over the dough. Roll the long edge of the dough up so that it makes a log 16 inches long. Cut the log into two pieces, transfer it to an airtight container, and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut each log into about 10 equal pieces and arrange each piece on the baking sheets so that the swirled side is up. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top of the scones are golden brown.


Anna said...

baby Hay is going to be a good little cook and eater, i'm sure!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, sweet essay, Elspeth -- and delicious-looking scones too! I'll have to try these soon.

You are going to be a wonderful mother, and Alex is going to be a wonderful father. Lucky little Baby Hay! We can't wait to meet him or her. ~XO, Morfar

caroline said...

My dad just gave me three jars of fig butter so I made this recipe today. So good!! I've already eaten two. And my husband and 1 yr.old daughter love them, too!


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