With a sweeter flavor than other varieties, red cheddar always strikes me as the ideal cheese for breakfast. A perfect complement to fruit, it calls to mind my father’s predilection for topping apple pie with a slice of cheddar. Why opt for sweet or savory when you can have both?
While enjoying the salty sweetness of one of my favorite cheeses, I decided to create a scone that would allow me to enjoy red cheddar in a new way. I like to think my dad would have enjoyed this recipe too. Since cheddar has a strong presence, it stands up well to stone ground cornmeal, which has a great texture and stronger corn flavor than other kinds. The addition of Turkish apricots and preserves adds sweetness, balancing the savory aspects of this scone. My version of a balanced breakfast.
1 ½ cups stone ground cornmeal
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded red cheddar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup chopped, unsulphured, dried Turkish apricots
1 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons apricot preserves
When selecting dried fruit, I always opt for the unsulphured variety. What they may lack in brightness of color, they make up for in flavor – plus many people have a sensitivity to sulfites.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pour cornmeal into a large bowl. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt over the cornmeal and stir to combine. Add shredded cheddar. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the dried apricots.
Whisk the buttermilk and eggs together. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Using a wooden spoon, gently fold until a loose dough forms. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and pat into a square. Cut into 16 triangles.
Chill unbaked scones in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Brush with apricot preserves and bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 16 medium scones.