You know that Christmas carol, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?” I was singing that this morning as I was prepping all of my ingredients for this morning’s baking fun. Why are you singing a Christmas song in September, you may ask. Um, it’s football season! Woo hoo!!!
After this summer’s travel adventures I experienced some of the most creative, unique, traditional, aesthetically pleasing, and delicious dishes I’d ever come upon. I say “experienced” because really good food is an experience. You woulda thought that our trip to Greece inspired these scones, but nope. Instead, I saw these gorgeous baked goods in a lovely Italian/Greek inspired restaurant in Missoula, MT. Who knew?
Now spanakopita has some of my favorite things… spinach, feta, onions, oh my! When I stumbled upon the scones in Missoula I was fired up. Unfortunately I had already eaten lunch and was too full to try them when I was there (normally I would force myself to have a nibble, but I stuffed myself silly with their yummy quinoa salad). So I don’t have any frame of reference of what these should taste like.
Upon the first bite, you definitely get a sweetness from both the sugar and lemon zest. Then the savoriness of the feta, onions, pepper, and salt settle in. The thing is, I don’t know how I feel about that. I almost feel like these scones are a bit confused. Are they sweet or are they savory? No judgement, I’m often confused in life, but I’m not sure that these work.
Regardless they are show-stopping pretty. As I was brushing the egg wash over them, you could literally see the pockets of butter and cheese layered in between the spinach. Seriously, you’ll get lots of, “oohs and ahhs” as you serve these for breakfast or brunch. Give them a go and see what you think.
Spanakopita Scones (recipe care of food52.com)
INGREDIENTS: 3 cups all-purpose flour (384 grams), 1/4 cup sugar (50 grams), 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 garlic clove (minced or Microplaned), 1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1 small lemon), 3/4 cup unsalted butter (170 grams) cubed and cold, 2 1/2 cups baby spinach (90 grams), 1 cup crumbled feta (156 grams), 4 scallions, finely chopped (heaping 1/2 cup, 50 grams), 1/2 cup chopped dill (9 grams), 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper plus more for topping, 1 pinch red pepper flakes, 3/4 cup buttermilk plus more as needed, 1 large egg beaten with a fork, 2 pinches flaky salt
DIRECTIONS: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, garlic, and lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Sprinkle the butter evenly on top, then pulse until the butter is the size of big blueberries. Err on the side of under- versus over-processing—if there are any stray, oversized butter pieces, just break up with your fingers. (You could also do this step with a pastry cutter, fork, or by hand! Just be wary of the butter getting too warm.) Dump this mixture into a big bowl and stick in the freezer or fridge while you prep and assemble the rest of your ingredients. When they’re at the ready, add the spinach, feta, scallions, dill, pepper, and pepper flakes to the flour-butter mixture. Fold with a rubber spatula until combined. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk and fold again until a dough starts to form (I like to switch from spatula to hand after a couple folds). Stick back in the fridge or freezer and let rest for a few minutes—the flour will start to drink up the liquid—while you preheat the oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment, foil, or a silicone baking mat. Give the dough another couple folds by hand and see if it wants more buttermilk. Add tablespoon by tablespoon—I added 2 more—until the dough just holds together. Dump onto a clean work surface or cutting board. Use your hands to bring it together and pat into a circle—9-inch diameter, 1-inch height. (The dough being perfectly cohesive or the circle being perfectly sized is less important than the dough being overworked!) Cut into 8 triangles. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet. Brush each with the egg—covering the tops and sides—then plenty of black pepper and a bit of flaky salt. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the tray and lower the oven to 350° F. Bake for another 16 or so minutes until the scones are very colorful. Cool before eating—at least until warm to the touch. I like them best at room temperature.