Flaky, moist scones filled with tart apple slices and flavored with cinnamon and an apple reduction for the perfect apple pie taste.
Apple pie for breakfast anyone? My answer: hellayeah! I wish I could tell you I remembered how I got this idea but I don’t except that it’s fall and pie season is around the corner and I already have a ton of apples in my kitchen. Oh and also, I’m cider obsessed. I initially created this recipe with some reduced cider (which you’ll hear me talk about a lot on this blog) but found a way to make these taste just like apple pie without it, with all the apple pie components!
This recipe is more or less based on my babka scones (wildly popular, already!). Sometimes I make something, score success and then I get a little obsessed with it and make several different versions. Tbh, I have never been a huge scone person, but the base for my babka scone recipe was so good I have been using it and making scones about twice a week. A good scone is one that is both moist and has crunchy edges but also has a really good complex flavor (instead of merely dotting it with blueberries, ya know?).
And these, wow, these come in hard and fast with the flavor and the texture. There’s vanilla and there’s cinnamon but also we’re going to pull the flavor from the apples themselves and add it to the dough. I do this by macerating the apples in sugar, straining them then reducing the liquid into a syrup. Beyond just having apples and cinnamon, this is what truly makes these scones earn the ‘apple pie’ title.
I had initially flavored these with reduced cider (SO GOOD) but after letting the apples soften I saw the liquid that had gathered at the bottom and decided to use that instead for a few reasons, a. you don’t have to pull out another ingredient or add a step for the recipe, b. the liquid was already there so might as well make use of it, and c. not everyone has access to fresh apple cider so this would be a world-friendly recipe.
To do this you need a balance of butter, heavy cream and eggs.
Flaky: Butter melts in the oven it puffs up and helps create those flaky layers that you find in biscuits, croissants and any laminated dough. A few notes about how to incorporate butter:
Moist: This is the work of the fat from the heavy cream and the egg(s). I used to make scones sans egg but found that while flaky, they were pretty dry within a few hours.
This is a debate isn’t it? Depending on how you like the apples in your filling that’s how long you will macerate the apples. I like to leave mine for a few hours so that I get just a little bit of crunch post-bake. Leaving them longer also releases more of the juice from the apples which we’ll concentrate into a syrup to add it to the dough. If you want them super crunch, leave them about an hour.
Also, how you cut the apples will have an effect on how long they take to soften and release juices. I use a mandolin for very thin slices.
Absolutely! In fact I recommend it. Since these need to freeze before they are baked, you can keep them in the container in the freezer for a month or more, and whenever you feel like having one – pop it into the oven!
Simply because they bake better! They’ll hold shape and this also goes back to the butter, very cold or frozen butter will melt in the oven rather than at room temp to create those flaky layers. In the case of this dough or my babka scones there’s another reason to freeze the log: clean cuts so you get that gorgeous, clean view of all the layers.
This is pretty simple: while they are still frozen (so, when your oven is preheated and right when you remove them from the freezer), brush heavy cream on top of the dough and sprinkle the sugar. I use an organic sugar and sprinkle liberally to get a really crunchy matte look on the top. The heavy cream freezes quickly atop the frozen dough so brush a few, then sprinkle the sugar, and repeat.
Glaze recipe: whisk together 1 cup organic powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon reduced cider, 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk. Thicken as needed with powdered sugar, if it’s too thick add more heavy cream.
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