Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chive and Cheese Scones

I recently made these savory scones for a brunch and was surprised to find that the chives I bought were grown in Ethiopia. I used to think chives were the same as scallions. Later, I learned that they are two of the more than 1200 members of the Allium (onion) family, which includes shallots, leeks and garlic.

Chives are the only Allium species native to both the Old and New Worlds. It has been grown in Europe since the Middle Ages, although evidence of its cultivation dates back 5000 years. The English word ‘chives’ comes from the French word cive which derives from cepa, the Latin word for onion.

The hollow, tubular leaves of the plant are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Chives are commonly used in French, Swedish and Japanese cuisines. The herb’s sulfur-containing leaves repel insects, which make them a desirable addition to any garden. The flowers are noted for their dainty perfection and are irresistible to bees.

These scones are incredibly easy to make and contain no butter or egg – although they do require plenty of heavy cream! They are quick to prepare and are a perfect accompaniment to scrambled eggs or breakfast sausage.

Makes 16 scones

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 3/4 cups sharp hard cheese (such as Cheddar), grated (about 7 ounces)
2 cups heavy cream plus 2 tablespoons for brushing

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add chives and 1 1/2 cups cheese.
3. Add 2 cups cream and mix just until a sticky dough forms.
4. Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth. Divide dough in half, and roll each into an 8-inch round.
5. Brush each round with 1 tablespoon of cream. Using a butter knife, divide each round into 8 scones.
6. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese and bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
7. For smaller scones, divide dough into three or four rounds. Roll into a 6-inch round and divide into 8 scones.


jennifer said...

great recipe, homey and delicious. my only edit would be to use 1tsp of salt instad of 2. the cheese adds saltiness (depending on the cheese). i pulled off mounds of dough like biscuits instead of making the big pie thing. it was a hit at brunch today, everyone loved it.

Sophie said...

I think it's very impressive that they don't contain butter or eggs! They still look delicious, chives and cheese are great savor ingredients for these scones :). I would love to feature your recipe on our Demy, the first and only digital recipe reader. Please email if you're interested :). Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I just made these for tea today, with chives straight from our own garden! I had to make some radical substitutions, but they still turned out delicious. I didn't have cream on hand, and anyway cream here in France is not the same thing as cream in the US, so I mixed crème fraiche with skim milk (!) to make 2 cups liquid total. The dough seemed a little *too* sticky then, so I added in a little more flour and that worked. Next time I will try making them with local cream to compare.

For anyone making this in Europe: I used organic T65 flour.

Brushed the tops with butter instead of cream since I didn't have any; the cheese I used was Salers, but I suspect any nice hard cheese would work wonderfully here -- Cantal, even Comté or Gruyère.

Our oven doesn't brown the tops of things on a normal setting, so after baking for about 25 minutes, I turned it onto broil and managed to get perfect golden-brown tops.

Had them nice and warm with tea -- thanks for the yummy recipe!

-- Preeta