Sweet & Savory Bacon Cranberry Scones: A Pastry Fit for a Prince

Sweet & Savory Bacon Cranberry Scones

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of babies were born. Almost all of them were regular, kind of cute but mainly weird-looking babies, and one of them was a royal baby. This royal baby comes from a long line of royal babies- his father was a royal baby, and his father was a royal baby, and his mother was a royal baby (#girlpower), and so on and so on for like a thousand years.

To give you a relatable example from American culture, it’s like in She’s All That when Freddie Prinze Jr.’s character has a dad that went to Dartmouth, so he feels like he was designated at birth to go to Dartmouth, even though he doesn’t necessarily want to go to Dartmouth because maybe that’s not the best fit for him and he wants to explore other options.

Or it’s like in Varsity Blues, when James Van Der Beek’s character has a dad who was the star quarterback of his high school football team, so he feels like he was designated at birth to be the star quarterback of his high school football team, even though he doesn’t necessarily want to be because maybe he wants to focus on academics so he can get into Brown and finally leave this small Texas town.

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It’s pretty much exactly like those scenarios, except it is a baby and hasn’t yet developed feelings about the duties and expectations that come along with its inherited status within the British monarchy, or feelings about anything, because it is a baby.

Regardless, everyone is super excited, and the press just can’t get enough of this royal baby fever. “Move over, Suri Cruise!” exclaimed one grown man who got paid to be on the news yesterday, referring to a seven-year-old as a has been. And while we still haven’t gotten a name, the new parents William and Kate did indulge the media in a photo op as they left the hospital with the baby. (**Spoiler Alert** it looks like a baby.)

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In all seriousness, this baby is adorable, they are adorable, and I’m proud to delusionally refer to them my dear personal friends. Here’s to you, unnamed baby; may you inherit all the humility and class of your parents, and all the looking-good-naked-ness of your uncle.

UPDATE: The baby name is George. Costanza would be so proud.

THE FOOD:

While the details of the royal baby’s future are still to be determined, one thing that is certain is that he will constantly be surrounded by tea, because he is British, and that’s just how they roll, I think. Tea and crumpets. Or, alternatively, tea and scones. I’m gonna go with scones, because I’m not 100% sure what a crumpet is.

Scones and I have something of a deep and meaningful personal history. The first time I ever made them was in a restaurant kitchen I worked in the summer after I graduated college. I had no experience in a professional kitchen, no formal culinary training, and was pretty much petrified at every moment that I was going to screw something up and everyone would realize I had no idea what the hell I was doing.

It was Sunday morning, and I was working brunch service for the first time. I was handed a recipe for Cheddar Bacon Scones, and told to make them before service started in 45 minutes. It was one of those panic-stricken moments. I had never made scones before. I barely even knew what scones looked like. Too prideful to admit to anyone that I was clueless, I charged ahead (albeit at a glacial pace), following the recipe methodically and oh-so-carefully until I had three large baking sheets full of beautiful, triangular bites of deliciousness. Proud of myself, I moved on to another task.

“Who made these scones?” screamed the kitchen manager as he held up one of my masterpieces. Shit. Shit. SHIT. I panicked. What could I have done wrong? I meekly claimed ownership of them and prepped myself to get berated. “They’re perfect; good job.” Whew.

This recipe is a riff on those scones that I hold dear to my heart. Basically, this whole post is just an excuse for me to provide you all with an example of my culinary prowess and unshakeable courage under pressure. You are welcome.

Seriously, though, this is a good recipe. The elements of sweet and savory live together in perfect harmony here; it’s some  Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder shit. You have the savory components of bacon and parmesan cheese mixed with the floral sweetness of honey, the tart sweetness of dried cranberries, and just a little bit of granulated sugar to drive it home. They are buttery and flaky, not at all like the hard-as-rock crap you can buy at Starbucks which is what I had previously associated with scones. And because I know dough can be intimidating, here are some pictures of the process to help out all you visual learners out there.

First, combine the dry ingredients with COLD cubes of butter in the food processor until it resembles a coarse meal.

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Transfer to a mixing bowl with bacon and cranberries and gradually add in cream and honey until it combines into a dough, like so.

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If it is too dry and not coming together, you can add a touch more cream/cold water, and if it feels too wet and tacky, add more flour. That is the way all dough rolls. Speaking of rolling….

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And cut it into triangles. IMG_6554

Brush with egg wash, and bake until golden brown perfection is achieved.

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Serve with some tea.

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Cheerio, mate, or whatever.

Bacon Cranberry Scones

Makes: about 10 scones

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tbsp granulated sugar

1/3 cup grated parmesan

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp cold butter, diced into cubes

1 1/4 cups heavy cream (can substitute whole milk)

2 tbsp honey

2 large slices of bacon, cooked and diced

1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used the Craisins infused with cherry juice, but any will do)

Egg wash (one egg beaten with a little bit of water)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, parmesan, baking powder, salt, and butter. Pulse until everything is combined and resembles coarse meal. You want the butter to stay in pea-sized chunks, so try not to overmix. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add bacon and cranberries, and stir to combine. Whisk together cream and honey, and gradually pour into the dry ingredients. Mix together until it comes together into a dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into triangles and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush each scone with egg wash and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly and serve.

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