My beloved New England Revolution played in the MLS Cup in Los Angeles last weekend. For the fifth time in a dozen years, the Revs battled it out in the championship game of Major League Soccer. For the fifth time, I jumped up and down in the stands; I clapped and sang, I rejoiced and cried. For the fifth time, I sat dejected in a stadium parking lot, nursing a beer with a few hundred die-hard New England fans, all of us wondering how it could possibly have happened. Again.
There are all sorts of things you can say to make yourself feel better after a big loss like this: it was a hard-fought battle and our boys in blue did us proud. Despite the heavily favored LA Galaxy, playing at home; despite the pressure of the “narrative” – Landon Donovan winning MLS Cup in his final match before retirement, Robbie Keane the League MVP – the game went to extra time. There were good chances missed on both sides and the game honestly could have gone either way. But of course, in the end, the game can only go one way. It reminds me of that old joke about Germany and football: MLS Cup, a game where 22 players take the field, battle it out for 90 minutes, and the Revs lose.
Sometimes, when you come home from a long weekend in sunny LA with no hardware in your pocket and three days of “wintry mix” in the forecast, well: you just need scones. Salty, funky, feta- and preserved lemon-studded scones. Or maybe biscuits. These are sort of an in-between: the egg in the batter fluffs them up and gives them a more cakey texture than a classic scone, but somewhat more tender and dense than a flaky biscuit. Biscones?
Whatever you call them, they’re good for what ails you. I should know.
Adapted from Feta and Chive Sour Cream Scones by Joy the Baker
Feta & Preserved Lemon Scones
- 6 ¾ oz (1 ½ cups) whole wheat pastry flour
- 6 ¾ oz (1 ½ cups) whole white wheat flour
- ½ tbsp sugar
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp fine-grained salt
- ¼ tsp Aleppo pepper
- several grinds fresh black pepper
- 6 oz (¾ cup) cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup buttermilk, cold
- 1 egg + 1 egg for egg wash
- 6 oz (¾ cup) feta, cubed or crumbled
- ¼ cup, packed, fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- rind from ½ a preserved lemon, pulp removed, unrinsed, minced
- flaky sea salt, fresh black pepper and ground sumac, for topping
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and peppers. Cut in butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
- In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and 1 egg. Beat lightly with a fork then fold into flour mixture to make a soft and shaggy dough. Add the feta, parsley and preserved lemon: mix to distribute evenly, then transfer dough to a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead 5 – 10 turns, until dough holds together.
- Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Beat the remaining egg lightly with a fork; brush egg wash over dough rectangle and sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and sumac. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then make five cuts width-wise to yield 12 large biscuits. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown on top and slightly firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
- I highly recommend scrambling the leftover egg wash, with a sprinkle of extra parsley and some Aleppo pepper, to pop into the middle of a scone. Delicious.
- This recipe yields 12 large scones; cut into 24 small rectangles for party-serving size. For smaller scones, you may want to dice the feta a bit more finely. Check scones after 10 – 12 minutes of baking.
- Sour cream, yogurt, whole milk, creme fraiche; any of these can substitute for the buttermilk.
- Since the egg works to give these scones structure, a variety of flours can work here – it might even make a decent GF biscuit/scone. Whole grain flour works so well here there is really no reason to use AP flour.
- Add this one to the long list of what to do with preserved lemons.
Best eaten fresh, though they are tasty re-warmed the next day.