In their excitement over the delicate marzipan flavor of cherry pits, people often overlook the dark crimson fruit that surrounds them. But did you know that the flesh of the properly-ripened cherry — firm, sweet, and succulent — is actually quite good in its own right? In some cultures, the cherry fruit itself is even more prized than the stone cached within.
These scones, although they do contain fruit and a small amount of sugar, are not what I would call sweet. If you’re feeling adventurous, make your cornmeal the coarsely-ground variety and give your teeth the workout they thought they’d never get from a scone.
The scones maintain a good shape if they are formed in a cake ring, frozen before cutting into wedges, and frozen again before baking. I like this adjustable-size ring because it’s very versatile, but you can use a plastic-wrap-lined cake pan if you don’t have one. Layering the fruit with the dough, rather than mixing it in, helps the fruit stay intact. And a cherry pitter makes short work of separating the stones (seriously, don’t throw them away!).
Cherry Pine Nut Scones
Yield: 8 scones
- Pit cherries: 5 minutes with a pitter, longer without
- Mix and shape: 10 minutes
- Freeze: 1 hour
- Cut and refreeze: 30 minutes
- Bake: about 20 minutes
- 286 g flour (use the same flour you would use for bread)
- 123 g corn meal
- 51 g granulated sugar
- 4 g (2/3 t.) salt
- 16.5 g (4 t.) baking powder
- 135 g cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 193 g cold buttermilk
- 110 g (2 large) cold eggs, plus another egg for washing
- 82 g pine nuts
- 160 g pitted sweet cherries, halved (about 22 cherries)
- Spray an 8-inch round cake ring with baking spray, or line an 8-inch cake pan with plastic wrap. Place the ring or pan on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Sift the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the cold cubed butter and mix with the paddle on medium-low speed until the butter pieces are the size of small peas.
- Combine the buttermilk and 110 g of eggs, and add them along with the pine nuts to the bowl. Mix on low speed just until combined.
- Scatter half the cherry halves over the bottom of the pan or within the ring on the parchment paper. Don’t let them get too close to the edge. Spread half of the dough evenly over the cherries. Layer on the remaining cherries and the remaining dough. Make sure the dough fills in evenly around the edges of the pan.
- Freeze for one hour. Flip the dough disc out onto the parchment paper (removing the ring or the pan and plastic wrap) so the first layer of cherries is now on the top.
- Cut the disk into 8 wedges. Space them evenly on the parchment-lined pan and return to the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F on the convection setting, or to 400F if convection is not available.
- Just before baking, beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with a dash of water and a pinch of salt. Brush a light coat of egg wash onto the tops of the scones.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until the scones are golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack.