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Seasonal persimmon scones, two ways

Recipe: Classic has a twist; non-dairy version is also vegan

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Persimmon chunks add sweetness to two scone variations. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)


Breakfast baking is my favorite way to use fruit in season. November brings gorgeous orange persimmons to market, so I wanted to give the crisp variety, the squat Fuyus, a try in a scone recipe. (The heart-shaped Hachiya persimmons must be mushy-ripe to use in baking.)

So I went looking for recipes that were well-spiced, at least somewhat healthy (for a scone) and featured the fruit nicely. I found two versions that were close enough to each other that I suspect they were adapted from the same original recipe. The major difference: One version is vegan/non-dairy and made with whole-wheat and almond flour. But the more-classic recipe, using butter, also has a twist: A generous portion of ricotta cheese. (That one came from the Electrolux website; I had no idea they offered recipes!)

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This persimmon didn't have seeds. Some do.

When choosing persimmons for this recipe, go for ones that still have some firmness rather than being soft-ripe. They'll be easier to chop and mix. Also watch out for the occasional seed in the middle when coring them -- of 4 persimmons I used, 2 had seeds.

Both recipes bake up nicely; I tried them side by side so they'd have the same baking sheet and oven temperature. The thicker classic version actually baked faster and made an excellent breakfast bread; it would take well to being split and spread with butter or jam.

The vegan scone had a texture closer to muffins than flaky scones -- I'd recommend not splitting it -- and was also very good. Cardamom is the only spice in this one, but it could take additional spices if you like.

Both are just lightly sweet; if you like sweeter scones, add a glaze or sweet topping of your choice.

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Classic on the left, vegan on the right.
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Whole-wheat persimmon ricotta scones
Adapted slightly from
electroluxappliances.com
Makes 8

Ingredients:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, well-chilled
1 cup cored and chopped Fuyu persimmons (2 of average size)
3/4 cup low fat or whole milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup half-and-half, plus extra for brushing on top of scones
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Disk of dough is ready to be cut.

Instructions :
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the flours, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices together in a large bowl. Cut the butter into 1/4-inch pieces and add the chunks to the flour mixture, using a pastry blender or two knives to break up the pieces until they are the size of small peas. Stir in the persimmons until well-distributed.

Stir in the ricotta, half-and-half and vanilla, forming a rough dough. Turn the dough, including any dry bits from the bottom of the bowl, onto a flour-covered surface, and knead the dough gently with your hands about 3 or 4 times, until it holds together. Push the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a disk about 1-inch thick.

Use a knife or dough scraper to cut the disk into 8 wedges. Transfer the wedges to the prepared pan and brush them lightly with more half-and-half.

Bake the scones 17-20 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on rack.


Vegan persimmon almond scones

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Firmer Fuyu persimmons make the chopping easier.

Adapted slightly from scalingbackblog.com
Makes 8

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 natural granulated cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons coconut oil, cold (this time of year it's usually solid, but chill briefly if not)
3/4 cup coconut milk (I used the beverage, not the canned variety), plus a bit more for brushing
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cored and chopped Fuyu persimmons (2 of average size)

Sliced almonds for topping, optional
Turbinado sugar, for topping, optional

Instructions:

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Both varieties of scone, ready to be baked together.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the flours, sugar, cardamom, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the solid coconut oil, using a pastry blender or two knives to break up the pieces until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in the persimmons until well-distributed, and add the coconut milk and almond extract. This makes a wetter dough than the classic version above and won't require much blending.

Turn the dough gently onto a pastry-flour-covered surface, and pat it into a disk about 1 inch thick.

Use a knife or dough scraper to cut the disk into 8 wedges. Carefully transfer the wedges to the prepared pan and brush them lightly with more coconut milk. Sprinkle on the sliced almonds and turbinado sugar, if using

Bake the scones 22-25 minutes until golden. Cool on rack.



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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

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