Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wholewheat Orange Ricotta Scones/Dessert for Breakfast!

I'm a dessert snob. Dessert has to be dessert. Seriously.

I'm not saying that I need a pint of expensive gelato with visible vanilla bean flecks. A sliver of cheesecake, a spoonful (or ten) of Nutella, honey-swirled Greek yogurt: qualifies for dessert. Half an apple isn't. Not even if you sprinkle cinnamon on it.

For the longest time, the only healthy component in any of my desserts happened to be Oats. In cookies, crumble, fudge... the other components being only butter, sugar and maida (AP flour). And chocolate.
The sad part being, this wasn't the best scenario in a household where the prime eaters are a diabetic-with-a-sweet-tooth-and-no-self-control (Dad) and the-girl-who-had-a-root-canal-at-the-age-of-five (Sums).

Dad has his own definition of dessert as well. Cinnamon rolls made with wholewheat flour, Phirni made with Splenda and Slim milk, he does not deign to eat. Trust me, I've tried. As for Sumi, she adds extra butter when I'm not looking. Who are these people?

So when I came across another one of those "healthy dessert" recipes, I didn't ever think it'd make the cut/blog. I made it from milk that had curdled in the cruel Madras heat! How can a recipe from odds-and-ends taste remotely good, right?


These Orange Ricotta scones are fantastic. Crisp like a biscuit on the outside and light-fluffy-airy on the inside.

They can be manipulated with whole-wheat flour and sugar-substitutes; nobody would know the difference. I'd suggest that the sugar that you use for sprinkling over the scones, pre-baking, is either raw/demerara/turbinado or the coarse/granulated sugar that is given out by the Tamilnadu Government's Ration-kadai. It'll add a nice bit of crunch and luxurious sweetness to a simple breakfast pastry.

Everybody (including Dad, whose version was a leetle bit toned down) enjoyed it. Even Sumi ate a couple... she recommends you dunk it in condensed milk or honey or both.

One more thing I'd have to insist on is you make them and eat them instantly. These do not keep (keep well, at least). I always freeze my shaped scone dough in Ziploc bags, so I can take out and bake it at my wish and whimsy. It's almost a party trick, when you make a smashing smoothie out of frozen, over-ripe bananas and a plateful of freshly baked Chocolate-chip cookies and present it to a guest within five minutes of their unexpected arrival. So don't let anybody tell you it's weird to stock your deep freezer.

We'll get to making these scones now? I've liberally adapted the recipe from this site, subbing out all the "fancy" ingredients for healthier options and methods suited to the Indian kitchen. They're easy-peasy, but also equally easy-peasy to go wrong. After many attempts, I'm leaking out the secret on these babies. Pay attention, my lovelies.

Wholewheat Orange Ricotta scones:


1 cup wholewheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
zest of half an orange
3/4 cup fresh chenna (paneer) or whole ricotta cheese
1/4 cup butter (cold)
1/2 cup milk + 1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp orange juice
1/4 tsp vanilla essence

For sprinkling
1 egg, lightly beaten (I skipped this)
1 tbsp raw/demerara/turbinado sugar


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade, 400 degrees Farenheit. Line a baking tray with greased foil or baking paper.

In a bowl, rub the orange zest into the sugar, releasing all the flavour and colour into it. Add into it the white flour, wholewheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking powder and salt. Give it a stir and set aside.

Use a grater/microplaner to grate the cold butter into the flour mix. Combine the flour and the butter (use your sterilised thumb and fingers!) until the mixture resembles coarse sand. There should be a few clumps.

Combine the milk and paneer(curdled milk)/ricotta.

For a richer scone, use whole milk or half-and-half!

Add the milk mix to the scone dough and combine with fingers until it is a granular mix.

Add in the vanilla and orange juice and stir gently.

Turn the dough out onto a clean workspace that has already been dusted with flour. Pat the dough into a circle.

Don't pummel it too much, or the pastry will be gummy.

Cut it into 8 triangles. You can flash-freeze and store these in an airtight freezer bag/box for a few weeks.

If you're making them right away:

Brush the tops of the individual scones with the beaten egg or milk (I used milk). Sprinkle the sugar over it.

Bake for around 15-20 minutes, until the craggy exterior is all golden brown.

Eat hot! And you know what else is better than Dessert? Dessert for breakfast!

With a mug of Cafe au Lait and the Sunday tabloids. It's my version of living the high life.

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