Three weeks after I have moved to Stockholm, and about two weeks since my luggage has arrived here. The apartment, to my discontent, is not yet entirely in order, as about four out of twelve boxes are still packed and not all things are put in places. The reason for such lack of speed is simple – the move and being ill while moving and packing, and then subsequent change of climate and stress has landed me with a nasty case of bronchitis, which is now blissfully and finally gone – thank the little green apples, Niklas and a 4L capacity humidifier (you wouldn’t believe how dry the air can get indoors at -12°C outdoor temperature and 3rd floor elevation)!
As I am slowly unpacking (which has been resumed now that I am no longer so ill) and trying to organize two sets of, for lack of a better term, things into a space of one apartment, Tobias has noticed that, to use his expression, the apartment is expanding. Suddenly there are rooms in it that he had not realised were living space before – namely, bedroom and kitchen. Why? Well, for a guy living alone, kitchen is not any sort of living space (unless he is a cooking aficionado, which Tobias, for all his varied accomplishments, isn’t – though he certainly is a happy eater!), and bedroom is a place where one goes to sleep, rather than spends any time in – or, agian, at least this bedroom was.
But, since I am very much a happy amateur chef, and also a rather committed bed-dweller (I write, read, and generally like to spend a lot of time in bed, which certainly beats many other places for comfort), to me those spaces very much are living space. I love hanging around the kitchen with a book (cookbook or otherwise), and reading while something delicious is coming to edible readiness. I love the warmth and smell of spices, and the bright halogen spotlights (I had those in my previous kitchen as well). In fact, just because I have the spare time, and love being in the kitchen, I have taken up baking more. That, and the no-risk-of-weight-gain Scandinavian boyfriend is a convenient person to feed whatever I come up with (which may or may not be potentially ruinous to my figure, but certainly isn’t for his).
One such thing happens to be fresh, buttered sourmilk scones (preferably with black currant preserves, mmm!) – fluffy, light and wonderful to eat, but oh-so-likely to stick to my behind in the form of said behind! Eminently wonderful to feed a scone-loving man, however! This particular recipe does not use eggs to bind the dough (unlike most American scone recipes), which is great for me, since T is allergic to eggs – nor is this in any way a compromise on quality: sourmilk (filmjölk) gives the scones an amazing light and airy fluffy texture and they rise as well as any I’ve made with egg binding! Ingredients:
- Approximately 5dl white flour (more as needed)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 – 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 (not heaped) tablespoon sugar (white or demerara) – for sweet variants.
- 50g sweet (unsalted) butter cut into 1-2cm cubes
- 2dl sourmilk (filmjölk) or buttermilk mixed with a bit of cream (more as needed)
- Optional – if eggs aren’t an allergen concern, you can use 1 egg – just put it in the measuring pitcher and fill up to 2dl with filmjölk. Beat lightly before adding to the flour mixture. Adding the egg improves the rise and texture of the scones.
- Optional additions: 1dl raisins and/or zest of 1 orange (I prefer both together!), a good sprinkle of ground cinnamon into the flour, large double handful of shredded cheese and half a teaspoon of paprika – smoked or otherwise (omit the sugar if making savory scones).
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together (except raisins but including orange zest if using).
- Drop cut up butter into the flour mix and rub in with fingers untill coarsely crumbed. If you happen to own a pastry knife or be good with the double-knife trick, cut the butter in, instead – it’ll make the scones even fluffier and more layered! Do not overwork in either case!
- Add raisins (or chopped dried fruit of your choice) if using.
- Make a well in the middle of the mix and pour in most of the filmjölk (sourmilk) – with or without the egg mixed in.
- Mix with a wooden spoon gently, then mix gently by hand, until combined.
- Add remaining sourmilk as needed to create a soft and slightly sticky dough which picks up all the dry bits from bottom of bowl. If dough is too sticky or wet (clings to hands excessively), add a very light sprinkle of flour.
- Knead very gently and quickly, and form into a ball.
- Place the dough ball on a saucer and put in the refrigerator for 3-5 minutes. (This step can be omitted if it’s not summer and it’s not very hot in your kitchen!)
- Lightly flour a baking sheet or use a sheet of baking parchment (no flouring needed if using this).
- Take dough out of refrigerator, place on a lightly floured surface and flatten with palms of hands into a disc about 2.5-3cm thick.
- With a large chef’s knife, cut the disc into halves, then into quarters and then each halfway into 1/8ths.
- Place dough wedges on the baking sheet/parchment and bake for about 15 minutes or a little longer (up to 25 minutes – ovens will vary and the time is far shorter in a fan oven!) until risen and lightly golden brown on top (I recommend watching the scones after 15 minutes have passed and checking frequently – ovens vary, so will the baking time.)
Serve warm. I like mine with a bit of salted butter and fruit preserves. Or fresh and sharply tangy labneh (homemade yogurt cheese – will post recipe for that later on). Preferably eaten in bed.