Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Kingdom for a Scone

It’s fall again. Floors are cold when I get out of bed in the morning, jackets are apropos except in the heat of the middle of the day, and most importantly, grocery stores across the city are stocking their shelves with cans of pureed pumpkin. For someone who has admitted to being a raging fall-aholic, someone like yours truly, that means it’s time to binge.

Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin cream cheese. These things have been consumed in my kitchen, maybe at the same time. And now, I’ve introduced a new pumpkin pastry to my repertoire, the pumpkin scone.

On one of our recent textbook fall days, I got it into my head that I need a pumpkin scone from Starbucks. I know, I know. I hung my head in shame as I passed Coffee Emporium, a place with better coffee and wonderful local pastries. I could have enjoyed anything in their pastry case and supported a local business, but my illness took hold and it had to be a pumpkin scone from Starbucks.

It has this layer of icing that your teeth sink into, sweet enough to kind of make your tongue tingle, and then you meet the scone, and if it was just recently thawed out and put into the pastry case it’s pretty moist and tender for a scone. For a fall-aholic, it’s pretty much crack.

So I get all the way down to 4th street, ashamed of myself, and they’re out of pumpkin scones. I could try another Starbucks nearby, but by now I just want a pastry and a seat by the window so I order a piece of pumpkin bread knowing full well it won’t satisfy my craving.

Some time later, I found this recipe. The accompanying images brought back all of those sensations of biting into the pumpkin scone with such intensity, I knew I had to try and make them. I did, and it was my first scone attempt ever.

As I was folding the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, doubt began to flash through my mind.

“What if I screw these up? What if I just threw away all that time and effort when I could just go buy a pumpkin scone at Starbucks?”

The batter was crumbly dry, and I fought back my doubt as I tried to mix it into something that resembled a pastry dough, cursing and wiping beads of sweat from my forehead. Alex saw I was stressing out and came over to the kitchen to try and offer some encouragement. I instructed him to get out of the kitchen. There may have been flames. I wasn’t in a mood to be coddled, not yet. (I apologized to him later)

Eventually, I harassed the dough into a rectangular shape, cut some triangles, and popped them into the oven. Thirteen minutes later, something resembling scones came out. They got two layers of icing – one a straight up milk/confectioner’s sugar mix and a second treatment with some cinnamon/nutmeg/ground ginger thrown in.

Are they the pumpkin scones of my dreams? Not exactly, but they’re a damn good substitute. And I didn’t have to set foot in a Starbucks.

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