Cheesemonster
Alice Bergen Phillips

Breads

Apricot and Gouda Studded Scones

I don't know about you guys, but for me, there are certain culinary words that automatically send my salivary glands into hyperdrive. I'll be reading through a new recipe or description of a dish, and a certain word or phrase will come up... And just like that, I'll find myself jotting down the ingredients and booking it to the grocery store as fast as possible. Call me a sucker for good writing (I do come from a family of notorious bookworms, after all), but there is just something about certain descriptors that propels me straight into the kitchen.

Probably the biggest trigger for me in terms of food descriptors is the word "studded". As in, "the cookie was studded through with dark chocolate chunks", "the loaf was studded with toasted pecans and sour cherries", or "the crispy dough was studded with pockets of warm, herbed ricotta". (Real talk: if you are not currently salivating after reading that last sentence, I'm sorry to tell you but you're dead inside.) If you think about it, it makes sense - the word denotes a certain power of flavor and sensation that other words just can't match. The word "sprinkling" implies a delicate, subtle action, whereas "mixing" connotes a melding of ingredients that tampers with each flavor's individual integrity. But studded? For me, when I see that word, it means that I can expect large, deep pockets of intense flavor and variety of texture. And what's not to love about that?

In order for a recipe like this to really work, there are two factors that are very important: First, the "studs" themselves must have a sufficient power of flavor and/or texture. There are few things more disappointing than biting into a pocket of chocolate, cheese, fruit, or whatever and barely being able to detect it. Secondly, the supporting structure for those studs (the dough itself), must compliment the flavors of the stars of the show without distracting or overwhelming them. The delicate must balance strong and vice versa.

This scone recipe is a perfect example of just that - the delicate nature of the dough (which is really more like a scone-biscuit hybrid due to its delightful fluffiness) is balanced by the flavorful studs of salty yet caramelized aged gouda, and sweet, earthy, chewy apricots. Word to the wise: not all goudas are created equal, so choose your cheese very carefully. I recommend using L'Amuse Signature gouda, which has an amazing salty-sweet, butterscotchy flavor, while also maintaining it's creaminess and moisture. 

Happy baking!

INGREDIENTS

- 6.5 cups flour

- 1⁄2 cup sugar

- 4 tsp. cream of tartar

- 2 tsp. baking soda

- 2 tsp. kosher salt

- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

- 1.5 cups milk

- 1 cup heavy cream

- 3/4 cup gouda, broken into approx. 1/4"-1/8" pieces (I recommend using L'Amuse Signature Gouda)

-1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into approx. 1/4"-1/8" pieces

METHOD

-Pre-heat oven to 450°.

- Whisk together flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

- Add butter and rub into dry ingredients with your fingers until pea-size crumbs form.

- Add milk and cream and stir until dough forms.

- Stir in gouda and apricots.

-Transfer dough to a heavily floured work surface and knead briefly.

- Pat dough into a rough 1"-thick square. Using a knife, cut dough into 3" x 4" rectangles and halve each rectangle diagonally.

- Transfer triangles to two parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

- Bake, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through cooking, until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

- Best served warm.

Alice Bergen Phillips