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Berwick, North Northumberland: Food-Travel-Culture-Community

The judgment of scones

It’s probably the same countrywide but I didn’t realise until we moved to Northumberland that many people judge a café purely on its scones. We’ve lived here nearly 11 years and I now know people who won’t enter the doors of certain establishments because of perceived scone quality.

Such people would surely celebrate were Yotam Ottolenghi to set up shop selling pull-apart scones with za’atar and feta on the corner of Marygate in Berwick-upon-Tweed. These gluten-free, veggie beauties are scones, Jim, but not as we know them.

My take on Yotam Ottolenghi's 'pull-apart scones with za'atar and feta' from Guardian Feast. Sublime gluten free, vegetarian beauties.

My take on Ottolenghi’s pull-apart scones with za’atar and feta from Guardian Feast: they are scones, Jim, but not as we know them (in a good way)!

I’m six months into my epic challenge to cook at least one recipe from each issue of Guardian Feast in 2021 (find out more about that here), and the goodies just keep coming.

Some may take issue with a 16-ingredient scone. They’re wrong. But they’ve probably stopped reading already so they’ll never know. The only ingredient I couldn’t source here in Berwick was ‘powdered pectin’. After much consideration and a bit of Googling, I decided to eschew gelatin and agar agar and up the quantity of ‘finely grated lemon zest’ to a full lemon instead of 1/2 tsp. My square baking tin wasn’t quite the dimensions required by Yotam, but all was well with the end product.

My za’atar was what I’d term cupboard vintage – but it worked a treat.

Only two crisis points for me in the recipe:

  1. Yotam says: ‘Pour in the cream mix, pulse again until the ‘crumbs’ are moist but not quite coming together’ – see picture below. Also, am I the only person who, when a recipe says ‘in a small bowl’, takes it literally and then has to upgrade to a bigger bowl? There was no way I could safely whisk my cream, yoghurt and egg in my chosen bowl.
  2. Not sure what a ‘rough 15cm long rectangle’ looks like. I made a square – see below. The pile of cheese looked impossibly huge heaped on it, but it wrapped up just fine.

As Yotam promised, I ended up with nine scones and had 54g of dough left over rather than the predicted 80g – not bad!

The alchemy of Yotam’s scones is not only in magically making something gluten free feel light and fluffy (I know enough people with celiac disease to understand the sad hefty mouthfeel of many gluten free products), but also in the perfect balance of intense cheesy herbiness and floaty pastry.

Original recipe:

Yotam Ottolenghi – pull-apart scones with za’atar and feta

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2 thoughts on “The judgment of scones

  1. rosemarykaye on said:

    Haha Jackie – I am that person! I always peer through the windows in an attempt to judge the quality of the scones, and I have been known to walk out (before ordering that is, and defintely not with a flounce…) if I see scones in plastic packets.

    I love scones, and having had some of the best ones in my life at the sadly now defunct Bon Papillon cafe/gallery in Howe Street (Edinburgh), I find very few compare. I feel that an indifferent scone is just not worth the calories.

    I have very recently discovered the wonderful scones, made fresh to order, at the Maryculter House Hotel here on Deeside; this cheered me up immensely – especially as going somewhere, even for a coffee, just now involves such a (necessary, I know) palaver of booking and form filling; the end really does have to justify the means these days.

    Not sure about the Yotam Ottolenghi version, but only because I don’t like savoury scones – the rest of the family loves them, and the BBC Good Food website recipe for Mediterranean scones (feta, sundried tomatoes, olives) has been a huge hit.

    I’m really enjoying all your recipe posts – just haven’t had the time to comment!

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