Honestly the best scones I’ve ever tasted, even better than Some Crust Bakery, I may venture. I made these for a special breakfast on Christmas Eve morning.
These buckwheat scones are perfectly flaky and moist, with a richly fragrant aroma. The buckwheat and fig flavors are complex and complementary. The recipe comes from my favorite baking cookbook, Good to the Grain (which I have used for several of my favorite cookie recipes including whole wheat chocolate chip, cornmeal cranberry cookies, and whole wheat gingersnaps).
Because you roll the scones into swirls like cinnamon rolls, they take a little longer to prepare than regular scones. However it’s entirely possible to roll them into logs the day before, and simply slice and bake them in the morning.
The homemade fig preserves also take a little while to cook, but you can prepare that sometime in the preceding month (as it keeps that long in the fridge). The fig jam recipe makes double the amount required for the scones, so you can have extra on hand for spreading on anything and everything. Alternatively you could double the scone recipe and use all of the fig jam at once. The fig jam is boozy because of the addition of 1 cup of red wine and 1/2 cup of port. It will make your kitchen smell incredible when it simmers on the stove. The recipe calls for 12 ounces of dried Black Mission figs, which is coincidently the exact size of the packages of dried figs at Trader Joe’s.
BUCKWHEAT SCONES WITH BOOZY FIG JAM
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FIG JAM
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 whole cloves
1 star anise
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup port
12 ounces dried Black Mission figs, stems removed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
METHOD FOR THE FIG JAM
To poach the figs, measure 1/4 cup water and the sugar into a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon, incorporating the sugar without splashing it up the sides, to avoid forming crystals. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium flame and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the syrup is amber-colored.
Add the red wine, port, figs, and cinnamon, standing back a bit, as the syrup is hot. Don’t panic when the syrup hardens; this is the normal reaction when liquids are added to hot sugar. Continue cooking the mixture over a medium flame for 2 minutes, until the sugar and wine blend.
Reduce the flame to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The figs will burble quietly as they are jostled together by the flame; they are ready when the wine has reduced by half. Remove the pan from the stove and cool to room temperature.
Fish out the star anise and cloves. Pour the cooled figs, with their liquid, into a food processor and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the softened butter to the fig paste and process until smooth. The fig butter can be spread right onto the buckwheat scone dough or stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. If it is refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before using.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SCONES
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup boozy fig jam (recipe above)
METHOD FOR SCONES
Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the butter to the dry ingredients by either cutting the butter into 1/4-inch pieces, or freezing the butter and grating it into the flour using a cheese grater. Rub the butter between your fingers, breaking it into smaller bits. Continue rubbing until the butter is coarsely ground and feels like grains of rice. The faster you do this, the more the butter will stay solid, which is important for the success of the recipe.
Add the cream and gently mix it into the flour with a spatula until the dough is just combined.
Use a pastry scraper or spatula to transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. It will be sticky, so flour your hands and pat the dough into a rectangle. Grab a rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle that is 8-inches wide, 16-inches long, and 3/4 inch thick. If at any time the dough rolls off into a different direction, use your hands to square the corners and pat it back into shape. As you’re rolling, periodically run a pastry scraper or spatula underneath to loosen the dough, flour the surface, and continue rolling. This keeps the dough from sticking. Flour the top of the dough if the rolling pin in sticking.
Spread the fig jam over the dough. Roll the long end of the dough up, patting the dough as you roll so that it forms a neat long 16 inches long. Roll the finished log so that the seam is on the bottom and the weight of the roll seals the edge.
Use a sharp knife to slice the log in half. Put the halves on a baking sheet or plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. (The dough can be kept covered, in the refrigerator, for 2 days). While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
After 30 minutes, take both logs out of the refrigerator and cut each half into 6 equal pieces about 1 1/4 inches wide.
Place each scone flat, with the spiral of the fig butter facing up, on the baking sheet, 6 to a sheet. Give the scones a squeeze to shape them into rounds.
Bake for 30-42 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. The scones are ready to come out when their undersides are golden brown.