Grad Paul: So how is your new team?
Me: The_Boss has challenged me to a scone bake-off on the 6th of Feb!
Grad Paul: I like how you base it on bake-offs. “Is there a bake-off in the future? Yes, then all is good.”
That pretty much sums up how much I like my new team. I think I get along with everyone on the team, or at least I’m still too new for anyone to have complained about me yet. It might have been a bit of a bad impression for me to have started in a new team, gone away for the Christmas break, returned, then left for Japan for 2 weeks, but the Japan trip was booked long before I knew I’d be changing teams, so I hope they understand.
Today was my attempt at baking scones. I followed the scone recipe in Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery book, which I haven’t tried before. I know, I know, that’s completely unlike me, normally I put in weeks of preparation and research before the bake-off. Well, I did do some research. I researched enough to find out that Thomas Keller is a world-renowned chef, and his scone recipe was highly recommended. Then I got distracted by Dota 2 and Town of Salem… The other bit of research I did was that I found out about this thing called clotted cream, or Devonshire cream, which Emma says is heavenly. She’s from the UK, and I could listen to her say Devonshire all day long, so I think that’s enough to make her an expert for me.
So today was an attempt at scones and clotted cream. And both seem to have failed. Starting with the cream, I think I misunderstood the recipe I found. I thought you were meant to heat the cream over low heat, and every hour, skim off the top. However, it seems that if you heat the cream for too long, the butterfat starts to separate, and you get this ugly goo thing (I should have taken a photo). So I think what the recipe meant was that you heat it for 60 minutes, then skim, and as it cools, more delicious cream floats to the top, which you continue to skim.
There wasn’t enough time to make another batch of cream, so I’m going to whip some cream in the office tomorrow morning.
I’m not sure if scones in the US are different to scones in the UK, but the scones in this book seemed a lot thinner than the ones I am used to. The recipe said that they do rise a bit, but I found it didn’t rise that much. So I have some scones that are thin and taste like shortbread. And they are pretty crumbly.
On the plus side, the competition has two parts – naked scones, and scones with dressings. I’m hoping the shortbread flavour will help win the naked-scone part, and make up for the ugly scones.
I have been thinking about cutting the tops off half the scones, and the bottoms off the other half, to make it look like I’ve pre-cut the scones in half, so even though my scones look like they’re half the size of regular scones, I can make twice as many and make it look like they were pre-cut, but I feel a bit like that is cheating.