I’m fond of calling myself a #bakernonbaker but the truth is, sometimes I surprise myself. These scones were next-level. The crunchiest exterior, pillow-soft interior and crazy flaky – almost like halva! How my little of this and little of that achieved scone-perfection is a mystery even I cannot solve, but I think it has a lot to do with the magic ingredient – tahini.
I’m pretty open about the fact that I’m not into the science of food. I’ve never been a very technical person. Technicalities give me a headache. I don’t find gastronomy intriguing, but one thing I can tell you is that tahini has special powers. Something about it’s fat content makes it bind with other ingredients in a completely different way. Fold it into whipped cream and you’ll get the thickest emulsion that will not deflate – and it will freeze up so smooth and creamy with the texture of ice cream! Mix it with water and you’ve got the silkiest, creamiest dip or stir in some silan and you’ve got a thick fudge. What is it about this magic ingredient that can be used in both sweet or savory applications, mixed into doughs and salad dressings, fudge and candy?
Tahini so fascinates me, I almost want to explore the science of emulsification. Almost. It does something so special to these flaky scones, you’ll never believe they don’t have butter!
Buttery pastries intimidate me. The way you have to get the butter into the perfect pea-size, and you can’t melt it with the heat of your hands. How you have to be careful to handle the dough just-so and not overmix it. How you have to perfect the process to allow for pillows of flakiness in every bite. Too painstaking for this impatient cook.
But cream-based scones? I got this. And so can you. Because it’s just as simple as mixing some ingredients into a bowl and forming them into a disc. And you can thank the magic ingredient, tahini, for doing the work of butter – minus the technicalities.
I thought about glazing the scones (and even posted a poll on my Instagram!), but I decided not to mess with perfection. Sometimes you get something just right and you don’t need to over-complicate things. So I left the scones as-is, allowing the subtle tahini flavor to shine, and served them with a side of dairy whipped cream and fresh berries, ‘cuz really, does it get any better than that?
OK, maybe with a side of a steaming hot cafe hafuch and some fresh figs. (on a porch somewhere in Israel. I’m pushing it now, aren’t I?) The breakfast of my dreams.
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c tahini paste
3/4 c heavy cream, plus more for brushing
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
whipped cream and berries, for serving, optional
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and sesame seeds. Make a well in the center and pour in the tahini, heavy cream and vanilla extract. Stir until the ingredients are incorporated. Don’t overmix.
Place the dough onto the baking sheet, flatten into a 7″ disk and slice into 8 triangles. Spread the triangles out on the baking sheet and brush the tops lightly with heavy cream. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Bake scones for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
VARIATION: You can add chocolate chips, diced dried fruit such as figs, dates or apricots or nuts such as almonds or pistachios, if desired.
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halva and ricotta stuffed figs
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