This recipe comes from my cookbook, Chocolate Snowball: and Other Fabulous Pastries from Deer Valley Bakery. Fresh rosemary is a must here; make these only when you have fresh rosemary on hand—like we Ranui Gardens CSA members this week. If you are questioning pastry with rosemary, you will find its strong, pungent, lemony, slightly piney and distinct flavor a delightful surprise. After all, rosemary is a member of the mint family, and we incorporate mint in desserts all the time.
Trivia: ancient Greeks and Romans used the dark grey-green needles as a culinary and medicinal herb and considered rosemary a symbol of fidelity, friendship and remembrance; brides wore garlands of it in their hair, as did Greek students during their examinations.
To impart the rosemary’s fragrance, strip the needles from the stem, chop them very finely, and steep in hot cream. When the rosemary infusion is cold, mix it into the dry ingredients. At Deer Valley we form the dough in rounds and freeze until needed.
Rosemary Oatmeal Scones
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream, optional
1 tablespoon crystal or granulated sugar
Heat the rosemary and the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until very hot but not boiling. Refrigerate until the cream is cold, about 30 minutes.
Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large bowl, and stir in the rolled oats. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients, using your fingers or a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With a fork, stir in the cold rosemary cream and the raisins, and mix until the dough comes together. It will be quite sticky. To form this soft dough into a round, line a 9-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap. Put the dough into the pan and fold the plastic wrap over to completely cover the dough. Form the dough into an even round disk, about 1/2 inch thick, by pushing the dough around under the plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze about 1 hour, or until cold enough to cut.
Preheat oven to 375˚. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, or coat lightly with butter or cooking spray. Cut the scone dough round into 10 pie-shaped wedges. Arrange on the prepared pan at least 1 inch apart. Brush with milk or cream, if using, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the bottoms are light golden brown and your finger doesn’t leave an indentation when you touch the tops.
Makes 10 scones.