At my day job I can count on getting at least three emails a week from readers wanting me to print a recipe for date and orange scones from a trio of cafes in town. The clever woman who invented these scones isn't keen on sharing her recipe for fear that every other coffee joint in New Zealand will start making them, which is fair enough. But I have got so sick of emailing these people back with the stock reply that I've taken matter into my own flour-covered hands and invented a recipe myself. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, isn't it?
Date and Orange Scones
These are much lighter than the scones at Maranui, Deluxe or Queen Sally's Diamond Deli, which are dense slabs of date-streaked heaven. A dear friend declared mine to be better, but then, she was sitting in my kitchen eating one at the time. See what you think.
3 cups plain flour
2Tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups dates, chopped into thirds (this eliminates the danger of biting into a stone)
2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or melted butter, but evoo is easier!)
1Tbsp golden syrup (or date syrup, or brown sugar)
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 - 1 1/4 cups orange juice (the good, freshly squeezed stuff, with 'bits' in it, not concentrate)
1 navel orange, washed and finely chopped (skin 'n' all, though you can discard the navel bit)
Preheat the oven to 220C and put the oven tray in to heat up (don't grease or flour it).
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, then stir through the dates. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a jug, then pour into the dry ingredients.
Mix VERY lightly with a flat knife or rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Add the extra 1/4 cup of orange juice if it looks very dry. Tip out onto a cool floured bench top and pat into a flat shape about 2.5cm high. Cut into squares and put immediately on the hot oven tray that has been waiting in the oven for this moment. Leave about a thumb space between them so they have room to nearly join up while cooking.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, crusty and well risen. Leave on the tray to cool briefly, then eat with lashings of butter.
Thanks for all your great food for thought this week, I've loved reading it. Thanks too to everyone who came up with a suggestion for what to do with the coconut flop. (What do you mean, 'throw it away?') It was too eggy to biscotti-fy, I haven't been in the mood for trifle and it was too fragile to turn into a frisbee (the BW was about to try, then saw the look on my face). In the meantime, I've stashed it in the freezer while I work out what to do next. It's probably quite good frozen, I think...
Have a sweet, sweet weekend x