Cherry Almond Ricotta Drop Scones
Knowing what to eat for breakfast when you are dancing in a competition is difficult. It’s important to eat foods for energy, but equally important to avoid foods that will make you feel full or sluggish. In any hotel a full breakfast is always available, but it is not my habit to partake of them. Instead I usually bring along simple foods that I can eat quickly with some coffee while I am getting ready.
These scones were the ones I made to take along on my trip. They met my requirements for easy to eat, nutritious, low in fat, and a good source of energy.
Most scones fall into one of two categories: the English version which is very dry and crumbly, a platform for slathering on jam and clotted cream; or the Americanized version that folds the cream directly into the batter, along with a hefty measure of butter and sugar. Either way you’re starting your day with about 500 calories, and that’s way too much for me. So I was on the hunt for a recipe for a lightened up scone that would still provide a fruity, whole-grain, buttery biscuit. I found it in this recipe.
The key is part-skim ricotta cheese. It has a richness similar to that of whipping cream with a fraction of the fat. Whole wheat pastry flour is worked in, and some of the butter is replaced by heart-healthy canola oil for scones that bake up light and fluffy. Dried cherries are plumped up in orange juice for a flavor boost, and nutty almonds add crunch. If you wish you can use half the ricotta, whipped with vanilla and citrus zest, to dollop on the freshly baked scones in place of clotted cream or butter. I felt that having one of these crumbly, cake-like biscuits early in the day got me off to a good start.
CHERRY ALMOND RICOTTA DROP SCONES
Yield: Makes about 10 scones
- 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
- 1 tsp. grated orange rind
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. fat-free buttermilk, divided
- 2 tbsp. canola oil
- 4.5 ounces whole-grain pastry flour (about 1 cup)
- 3.4 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 425*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine cherries and juice in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute; let stand 5 minutes. Drain; discard liquid. Finely chop cherries.
3. Combine ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar, rind, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture. Add 1/3 cup buttermilk and canola oil to remaining ricotta mixture, stirring until smooth.
Combine sugar, vanilla and orange zest with ricotta cheese.
4. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Cut in butter with a pastry blender.
Add cherries and almonds; toss. Add buttermilk mixture; stir just until combined.
5. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 3-inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet. Combine egg and remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk, stirring with a whisk. Gently brush top and sides of dough with egg mixture.
Brush tops with buttermilk-egg mixture.
Bake at 425*F. for 15 to 16 minutes or until golden. Remove from the pan and cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.
Bake till golden brown.
6. Beat the reserved ricotta mixture at medium speed 3 minutes or until fluffy. Serve with warm scones.
As a finale to this recipe, I’m including here the photos I’ve been waiting for that show me dancing rhythm dances. This costume has a lot of fringe that moves with the dancing, and shows the judges that you are using your hips correctly. This will be the end of my show and tell about the competition, I promise.
SOURCE: Cooking Light