husk cherry scones

Husk Cherry Scones

Husk cherries. Ground cherries. Husk tomatoes. Ground tomatoes. Cape gooseberries. There are too many names for these lil’ buggers – you can call ’em Physalis if you really want to get scientific about it – but husk cherries is the name I go for.

husk cherry scones

Last summer, I really noticed them for the first time at my local farmers’ market in Inwood – “Everything In Pint Boxes – $5!!!” a bright cardboard sign exclaimed as I looked at hundreds of little husky pods, unsure what the hell they were but eager to try them! I looked up recipes and settled upon a nice Husk Cherry Clafoutis!

That pint of fruit sat in the back of my fridge for many weeks, and I finally discovered it in October, promptly pitching them into the compost bag in my freezer.

Better luck in 2017, eh?

husk cherry scones

Sure enough, come mid-August, I started seeing husk cherries in my local farmers’ market; one day, while on a staycation from work, I took myself to the Union Square Farmers’ Market on a bright Wednesday morning and comparison-shopped pints of them, finally finding a $5 pint in one of the last vendors I looked at – side note, I balked at paying $6 for a pint, but then walked to MatchaBar and spent $6 on a iced matcha latte even though I had matcha and milk at home, because I’m THAT PERSON sometimes.

Moving on…

I attempted to make this Husk Cherry Clafoutis recipe I had saved from the previous August; it called for almond extract, which I didn’t have, but then I thought to myself, “Hey! Maybe I can just grind some almonds into the flour for the flavor!”

What erupted from my oven was an oddly delicious concoction that my roommate Kait and I loved – some sort of hybrid bread pudding with the consistency of a lemon bar – but it was definitely not a clafoutis by any means. Though we loved it, I didn’t think it would translate well to a universally – loved recipe by any means.

husk cherry scones

husk cherry scones

What can you always do a berry or berry-like fruit, though?

Scones! M’er f’in scones!

husk cherry scones

Husk Cherry Scones

The fruits, with a slightly pineapple flavor when yellow and a slightly green apple flavor when greener, are perfect for a buttery scone. Plus, I have a basic scone recipe that I’ve been using for a few years now that has served me right. Its base allows you to add to much to it, including – taaa daaa – husk cherries!

husk cherry scones

Husk Cherry Scones

Don’t be afraid of or intimidated by these lil’ guys anymore! You now know at least one thing to do with them.

Husk Cherry Scones

Husk Cherry Scones

Husk Cherry Scones
(Makes 8)

Ingredients:

Scones:

– 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 12 tablespoons (1 & 1/2 sticks) butter, cubed or shredded while frozen (see Before We Get Started…)
– 3/4 cup heavy cream
– 1 cup husk cherries, removed from husks and halved

Glaze (Optional):

– 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
– 2 tablespoons heavy cream or liquid of choice
– 1 teaspoon vanilla

Before We Get Started…

Refer to this recipe on why shredding frozen butter for scones is pretty much the best idea EVER. (Thanks, Dad!)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Whisk thoroughly to combine.

3.) Add butter to dry ingredients; mix with hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly and mealy. Form a well in the middle of the mixture and add heavy cream. Use hands to combine mixture until all ingredients are incorporated. Add husk cherries and gently combine into the mixture, taking care not to overly squeeze or press the fruit.

4.) Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead for roughly 30 seconds. Form dough into a flat rough circle, approximately 10 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 triangular slices.

5.) Place scones on parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Bake for 14 – 16 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned and slightly cracked.

6.) Place on wire rack to cool slightly before eating.

6a.) If glazing scones, allow scones to cool completely before adding glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl, then drizzle glaze on scones with a large spoon.

7.) Store remaining scones in an airtight container.

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Orange Ginger Scones

I’m trying to recall why I was ever intimidated by making scones. For years, I was. I’m racking my brain, trying to figure out that exact rationale; on the whole, I just recall being told that they are easy to mess up. There is a fine line between making a batch that is moist enough but not too dry, as the hallmark of a good scone is a slight crumble. For Christmas 2014, I took a leap of faith and whipped up a batch of cranberry scones at 7 that morning, feeling inspired yet nervous. I was worried that my failure in making edible ones would result in ruining such a precious day for my family. (Dramatic, much?) The integration of the cold butter was a bit cumbersome, and I hazily recall asking one of my parents to scrape the dough off of my hand at one juncture. However, 30 minutes later, we were happily munching on scones that were dense yet not overwhelming, crispy but not dry, and bursting with juicy cranberries.

I could handle scone making.

I make them rarely, but I love to experiment when I do. (Note: Roasted Grape Scones will show up on this site sooner than later!) I find it hard to make a smaller recipe because, one, I don’t always feel like doing the math to halve or third it (…lazy…), and two, I love sharing them with roommates, friends, and co-workers. In fact, one of my co-workers has one scone recipe down to a science. Hers, with a traditional smattering of currants, are everything a quintessential scone should be. In fact, they inspired a hashtag you may seen on my Instagram feed on days I’m lucky enough to eat her baked goods: #dammitjeanmarie. However, she is a self-admitted purist; she has told me that the only filling within a scone should be currants. I respect that, so I’ll let her make hers, and I’ll allow myself to go the more experimental route. At least we aren’t competing. Ha!

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Oh, and I learned a cool trick from my father a few months back. When it comes to certain desserts, you may see an instruction that strikes fear in the hearts of many: cutting butter into flour. Growing up, I never had a pastry cutter; I had my hands and my fingers! I do remember attempting to slam a whisk into a chunk of butter many a year ago, and the results of that were as follows: the butter got pushed into the middle of the whisk and I had to fish it out. I thought the use of the whisk as a makeshift pastry-cutting instrument was ingenious, but…yeeeeah. Hindsight was 20/20. I went back to my hands and fingers after that. When I was home in Connecticut this past October for my birthday, my dad made my favorite dessert: apple crisp! Of course, he tops with with a flour and butter-based brown sugar crumble. As I watched him make it, I noted how he had a frozen stick of butter and a cheese grater. I was intrigued. What did he do? He grated the frozen butter! It made its incorporation into the flour and brown sugar much simpler. Ahhh, my father, the culinary genius…

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Cheers to Monday, y’all! Pop a scone to get you though this morning.

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Orange Ginger Scones
(Makes 8)

Ingredients:

– 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 12 tablespoons (1 & 1/2 sticks) butter, cubed or shredded while frozen
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
– 1 teaspoon orange zest
– 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange juice, plus 1 teaspoon, divided
– 3/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
– 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Before We Get Started…

– Be prepared: when mixing this dough with your hands, it is exceedingly sticky!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, orange zest, and baking powder. Whisk thoroughly to combine.

3.) Add butter to dry ingredients; mix with hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly and mealy. Form a well in the middle of the mixture and add 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed orange juice. Use hands to combine mixture until all ingredients are incorporated.

4.) Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead for no more than 30 seconds. Form dough into a rough shape, approximately 10 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 triangular slices.

5.) Place scones on parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Combine two tablespoons of heavy cream and 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed orange juice. Brush tops with cream mixture and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 14 – 16 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned and slightly cracked.

6.) Place on wire rack to cool before eating. Store remaining scones in an airtight container.