There’s just something about sweet potato that elevates it’s standards to becoming a patisserie ingredient, beside being another tuber variety.
To whom doesn’t already know, Aljezur is the sweet potato capital in Portugal, known for having the best product in the country. Even the world. The town has a festival and a museum dedicated to it, and it is fairly popular with locals and rural tourism comers and goers.
Incorporating the sweet potato in a scone just seemed ideal for trying something new, while using a traditional and regional ingredient.
This recipe is adapted from another I found in my favorite pastry book – Bouchon Bakery by Sebastian Rouxel and Thomas Keller. Everytime I bake something out of this book, the results are divine and may I add that the pictures are beautiful, and not to mention that every bit of information is spot on professional. My weighing or cupping page is mostly based on everything I’ve learned while discovering this good read. Every recipe comes in both formats, so wether you prefer imperial measurements or have an everlasting relationship with your metric scale – you are bond to enjoy the results as much as the process itself.
The addition of frozen blueberries was meant for tartness, a little contrast against the sweet, and the color.
Go nuts with the diluted egg wash and sprinkle plenty of caster sugar. Sprinkle it everywhere!
I baked this batch of scones twice: the first half was the morning after I put them in the freezer from making them the night before, and the rest two weeks later. If you are not a fan of freezers, with all those ice crystals ruining the consistency and proportionating off-flavors – please read on and think twice about this technique for baked goods, as it helps flavor maturation and texture stability. You know those delightfully scrumptious macaroons sold everywhere in France? The are sold only after at least 48 hours of chilling in negative temperatures (ºC). Michelin Star restaurant pastry chefs go by this rule, and you can’t have a star if you don’t end the meal with a bang, wether it’s dessert or Petit Fours, trust me when I tell you that at least one of those elements was previously frozen.
What I experienced with this recipe was: the second batch was better than the first. Tastier, with a better texture and a bit less fragile than the first batch. Just try it out yourself, and you will see what I mean.
The recipe (altered to include the sweet potato):
- 152 grams whole wheat flour
- 304 grams regular flour (the original recipe calls for cake flour – we don’t have that here, so I used what we call T55, which is sort of the same)
- 227 grams cold salted butter (I use salted because I LOVE salty flavor in sweets)
- 12,5 grams baking powder (ok, for all you imperial lovers, 2 1/2 teaspoons)
- 2,5 grams baking soda (1/2 teaspoon)
- 91 grams caster sugar
- 200 ml cream
- 180 grams baked sweet potato pure (whichever sweet potato you desire – I like the orange ones, the sweetness is wonderful)
- 1 cup blueberries
Procedure: turn the oven on 200ºC and bake the sweet potatoes whole, skin on, for about 45 minutes to an hour. Peel the potatoes and blend the amount of pulp necessary with the cream. Set aside and mix baking soda, powder and sugar with the flours. Use a food processor to pulse this combination with the cold butter (or a fork – the tips of your fingers will melt the butter and reduce flakiness in the final product). Incorporate the cream and sweet potato mix, but not too much as you don’t want any of that gluten gaining any strength. Add the blueberries and stir gently. Set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the dough on a floured surface to be at least 1,5 to 2 cm high and cut to your liking. Lay on a tray with parchment paper and let them freeze for about 2 hours. At this point, gather them in a zippy bag, or if you plan to leave them in the freezer for a few weeks, wrap each one individually with plastic film.
Now to bake them: diluted egg wash, plenty of caster sugar and straight into a 170ºC oven, for about 20 minutes, or until golden and slightly larger in size. Don’t let them defrost before going in the oven.
Always best served warm, with thin slithers of butter. Obviously.
4 thoughts on “Sweet Potato and Blueberry Scones”
Interesting about the mandatory freezing of the preformed scones.
Not that it is “mandatory”, but it is a huge help for texture improvement. It is also good for keeping some in the freezer for future baking, without the hassle of dirtying any more dishes :).
Mandatory if you want all the stars.
It is a good technique that “star” experts notice, other than that, nothing in the “book” says you have to do it. My previous internship was in a star restaurant and we used to freeze many things. Just like using a paco-jet to reduce ice crystals in ice cream and sorbet (every day) – you never know when a “judge” will walk through the door.