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Sweet, savoury recipes take the biscuit

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Cheese and Apple Scones

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Cheese and Apple Scones Photo Store

Last week, Holly Durawa wrote in hoping for a recipe for the spinach-and-cheese scones served at the late, lamented Paddlewheel Restaurant at The Bay. We haven't been able to get that exact version, but we do have a recipe for spinach-and cheese-drop biscuits from Getty Stewart, a home economist and founder of Fruit Share Manitoba, who blogs on food at www.gettystewart.com. (Fruit Share is an organization dedicated to picking, sharing and donating surplus fruit in Manitoba's backyards and fields. What a terrific idea.) We also have a recipe for apple-and-cheese scones from Nancy Stimpson.

The distinction between scones and biscuits brings up some thorny culinary questions. There is a general agreement that biscuits are round and scones are pointy, but beyond that the argument can get quite heated. (Heck, we don't even have consensus on how to pronounce "scone," much less on how to define it.) Some bakers suggest that North American biscuits are lighter and fluffier, while scones are richer and more dense, often made with cream and sometimes with the addition of an egg. As well, biscuits are often viewed as savoury, while scones are more likely to be seen as sweet.

Feel free to weigh in on this, any of you scone or biscuit devotees out there. I'm planning to continue with some sweet versions in the coming weeks. If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to recipeswap@freepress.mb.ca, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.

 

Apple Cheddar Scones

 

415 ml (1 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour

30 ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar

7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

1 ml (1/4 tsp) baking soda

80 ml (1/3 cup) cold butter, cubed

250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk

250 ml (1 cup) cheddar, grated (about 115 g or 4 oz)

250 ml (1 cup) apple, peeled and diced

 

Preheat oven to 230 C (450 F). Lightly grease a baking sheet. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in cheese and apples. Stir in buttermilk just until mixture is just moistened. Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently 10 times. Pat into 2 circles, each about 2-2.5 cm (3/4-1 in) thick. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12.

 

Tester's notes: I like the combo of apples and cheddar, which can skew sweet or savoury. Again, I found my oven running a little hot for these scones, so I dropped the temperature to between 190 and 205 C (375-400 F).

 

Spinach and Cheese Biscuits

 

500 ml (2 cups) spinach

250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour

250 ml (1 cup) whole wheat flour

15 ml (1 tbsp) baking powder

1 ml (1/4 tsp) baking soda

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

1/2 ml (1/8 tsp) cayenne pepper

75 ml (1/3 cup) butter, cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) chunks

125 ml (1/2 cup) grated cheddar cheese, plus more, if desired, for top

250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk or sour milk (15 ml or 1 tbsp of lemon juice with milk to make 250 ml or 1 cup)

 

To prepare spinach: Wash fresh-picked spinach several times to remove all grit, or wash packaged spinach. Remove spinach from water, shake off excess and place in saucepan over medium heat. There should be enough water on the spinach for wilting purposes; if not, add a spoonful of water to the pot to prevent scorching. Cover and let cook until spinach has wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain spinach well. Chop into small pieces and set aside.

Preheat oven to 230 C (450 F). In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in grated cheese. Add spinach. Make a well in the mixture and add milk. Using a fork, stir just until moistened. (Over-mixing will cause tough biscuits.) Using a tablespoon, drop dough onto greased baking sheet. If desired, sprinkle more cheese on top of each biscuit. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden. Makes about 12.

 

Tester's notes: This cheesy drop biscuit is easy and quick. Do make sure that the spinach is well drained before you add it to the batter. The 230 C temp was running a little high for my batch, browning the bottoms before the tops cooked through, so I dropped the temperature a bit midway through.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 18, 2014 C5

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