Are you counting down? It's December 19, and we're less than a week away from Christmas and far from the peak nectarine season. (Washington State nectarines are available from July through September, while California nectarines are available a little earlier, from May through September.) Even though fresh nectarines aren't typically found in markets during the long winter months unless they're imported, there are ways that we can still enjoy them.
One way is to eat dried nectarines, which, obviously have a much longer shelf-life than the fresh version. A few months ago, I was sent a sample of some gorgeous Dried California Jumbo Nectarines from Oh! Nuts, a company specializing in premium quality nuts, dried fruit, candy, and chocolate. When I first opened the one-pound bag of dried fruit, I ate the nectarines right out of the bag. The flavor was intense and sweet and, after a while, a little overwhelming. I knew that I wouldn't be able to eat the entire bag of fruit "as is," so I began to think about ways I could cook or bake with the nectarines.
The more I thought about it, the more sense it made to bake something with them. Cookies? No. Cake? Not really something I bake too often considering I live by myself (and having a whole cake around with no one to share it with would wreck havoc on my girlish figure). Muffins? Getting warmer. Then... Eureka!
Nothing goes better with my Sunday morning coffee (and my Sunday morning chats with my grandmother) than homemade scones, and these are fabulous. The hint of cinnamon really brings out the flavor of the nectarines, and rather than a typical milk wash, I used an orange juice wash to bring everything together.
For the scones:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup dried nectarines, diced
For the topping:
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients.
- In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, half and half, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste.
- Add the dried nectarines to the dry ingredients and toss lightly to coat.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead gently to combine.
- Separate the dough into halves. Shape each half into a circle and cut each half into quarters.
- Brush the quarters with the orange juice and sprinkle with sugar.
- Place quarters on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and put the scones directly into the preheated oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Removes scones to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler | Taste As You Go
Taste As You Go Disclaimer: I was provided with product samples at no cost to me. I do not accept monetary compensation for writing about these products or about my experience while using them. All opinions expressed are my own.
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