Have you ever had a date?
I'm not talking about an outing with someone special and holding hands, hopefully laughing and cuddling a bit. I'm talking about the sweet fruit cultivated from a palm tree, that has been a staple in Middle Eastern diets for thousands of years. I don't know why, but I never thought of trying one, and for some reason always thought they sounded gross. I think I always associated dates and prunes to be similar, although they are far from it.
What sparked my interest was when I stumbled upon a new blog, Sprouted Kitchen, that I instantly fell in love with. The photography and recipes are stunning. I was immediately smitten and intrigued by this recipe for scones, and I made them almost instantly (the next morning, actually, but that's pretty impressive for me!).
These scones are beautiful. Simple to put together, and very subtle. They are not bold and in your face, but are perfect for quiet reflection. They make you want to sit very still, very quietly, and slowly savor each bite. They are not overly sweet, have a very delicate crumb, and just seem so sophisticated. Ladybug and I really enjoyed them with a bit of real butter melting on top, but I can imagine they would be phenomenal with a spot of clotted cream, too. If you haven't tried dates yet, or you haven't tried making your own scones yet, this would be a perfect opportunity to give both a try!
Date and Pecan Scones (adapted from Sprouted Kitchen)
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp wheat germ
1/3 cup chopped pecans
5 medjool dates, cut into small pieces
6 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp orange zest
Turbinado sugar for garnish (or brown sugar)
Preaheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Mix your flour, oats, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and baking powders together.
Mix in the chopped pecans and dates.
Working quickly, mix your butter pieces into the flour mix with your fingers, pressing it all togeehr until you get small pebbles of butter mixed through the flour.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and zest.
Add about 3/4 of this mixture to the flour and incorporate with as few stirs as possible.
Add more of the cream as needed until you get a shaggy dough that just holds itself together.
Pat it together and let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lightly flour your counter, divide your dough in half, and make two disks that are about 1.5' thick.
Cut the disks into fourths and place them on the parchment paper.
Brush a bit of the remaining cream on the top of each one and sprinkle a few pinches of turbinado sugar on top.
Bake on the middle rack for 16-18 minutes, rotating the baking tray halfway through.
Remove to cool.