Scone Eggs

Scone Eggs

Wotchers!

Scotch Eggs are delicious, I think we can all agree that that is fact. Alas, they are also usually deep fried, and can thus be prone to being either overcooked or dry, or greasy or, heaven forfend, all three. Something needed to be done!

Behold  my new creation – The Scone Egg™!

Everything you love about scones and Scotch eggs in a single, warm, comforting bundle of deliciousness!

These are also a natural progression from some savoury scone variations I included in MY BOOK </subtle>. If you’ve got a copy[1], you will find the scone recipe on page 248. A couple of pages later, there are some suggestions for customising a basic scone recipe. The savoury scones are very popular with The Lads that look after my car, at my local garage[2].

What started out as an attempt to combine all the deliciousness from a Breakfast Sandwich into a scone, took a bit of a detour and here we are at Scone Eggs! Soft, crumbly scone, spicy sausage, an egg that is still runny in the middle[3],  and no deep frying!

These are ideal for brunch, either as is, or you could go completely over the top and combine them with all the fixin’s for Eggs Benedict. *dabs drool from keyboard*

To ensure a liquid center to your egg, they should be boiled for no longer than 5 minutes. This makes them a little tricky to peel, but if you follow the instructions below, you will be blessed with a much lower egg ruination rate. Alternatively, go for hardboiled eggs and make the whole process altogether less fiddly, and which would also make them more sturdy and therefore suitable for picnics, etc.

You will need some small individual pudding bowls to bake them in – I use foil ones like this – which can stand several uses with careful washing between bakes.

The key to baking a light scone is, as ever, the speed with which you can get them into the oven after adding the liquid to the dry ingredients, whilst avoiding being too rough with the dough. Have everything ready – eggs boiled and cooled, foil cases oiled – and your oven at temperature before stirring in the liquid and you should be able to have them in the oven in about 5 minutes.

Scone Eggs

Makes 4-6

I’ve specified more eggs, just in case there are cracks or breakages when removing the shell. In addition, depending on how thickly you wrap the scone mixture around the egg, you may get up to 6 Scone Eggs  from this recipe. Or not. But you will most definitely get four.

6-8 large eggs

1 x 400g pack of good-quality sausages[4]
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
½-1 tsp dried thyme
½-1 tsp dried oregano
½-1 tsp dried sage
¼ tsp celery seed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes

225g plain flour
30g unsalted butter
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cream of tartar
1 large egg
½ tsp salt
80ml plain yogurt
80ml milk

1 large egg for glazing

  • Prepare the eggs.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer (this will help keep the eggs from cracking).
  • Add the eggs, gently lowering them into the water with a spoon. Allow them to cook for 5 minutes, then drain the water and cool them in cold water. The eggs will be easiest to peel once completely cold, so either add some ice or more cold water if necessary. For hardboiled eggs, cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the eggs are completely cold, remove the shell. I won’t go into just how many eggs I went through in the development of this recipe, but let us just say it was substantial and resulted in the method outlined below:
    • Take a teaspoon and with the back of the spoon, tap around the ‘equator’ of the egg, making sure the shell breaks into small pieces.
    • Then use the back of the spoon to break the shell around each end of the egg.
    • With the point of a sharp knife, break away the shell from the ‘equator’ region, until you can peel both shell and skin away together, preferably still attached to one another. This is key in removing the shell smoothly and successfully. Sometimes bits of the shell will drop away leaving the skin intact. Use the point of the knife to break through until you can hold shell and skin together between your fingertips.
    • Once you can hold both skin and shell together, peel around the middle of the egg, then peel each end.
    • Lay the peeled egg carefully on a plate – its soft middle will mean it doesn’t hold its shape entirely, but enough until you’re ready to wrap the scone mixture around.
  • Prepare the sausage
    • Remove the skin from the sausages and put the meat into a frying pan over medium heat.
    • Sprinkle with pepper, salt, herbs and spice to taste.
    • Using a spatula, break up the sausage meat as it cooks.
    • Continue chopping and turning the meat until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
    • When cold, tip the cooked sausage into the bowl of a food processor and blitz very briefly to break up any large chunks. You don’t want it as fine as breadcrumbs, but at the same time no piece larger than about 1cm.
    • Set aside.
  • Make the scone mix.
    • Preheat the oven to 220°C, 200°C Fan.
    • Put the flour, butter, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, salt and egg into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until it resembles breadcrumbs.
    • Tip the mixture into a bowl.
    • Weigh out 200g of cooked sausage meat and add to the scone ingredients. Stir through.
    • Whisk the milk and yogurt together.
    • Check you’ve got everything to hand to get the scones into the oven, pudding tins greased, egg for glazing whisked, pastry brush handy, oven hot, etc.
    • Using a rounded knife, gradually add the milk mixture, stirring the dry ingredients as you go. You might not need all of the liquid, depending on the moisture in the sausage, so proceed cautiously – you can still bake an overly moist scone mixture, but it might slip off the egg before it is fully cooked.
    • When the mixture has come together, tip out onto a floured surface. With floured hands, roughly shape it into a circle, then divide it into quarters.
    • For each egg, do the following:
      • Take a piece of dough and place it in the palm of your left hand.
      • Use your thumb and fingers to shape a hole or pocket into the dough. Be careful not to press the dough too thin – it should be 1.5-2cm thick.
      • Take one boiled egg and place it into the pocket.
      • Mould the scone dough around the egg until it is smoothly covered. Pinch off any excess dough and put on one side. You will end up with sufficient dough to wrap another 1 or 2 eggs.
      • Decide which end of the scone is smoothest and then drop the moulded scone into a buttered pudding tin, smooth side uppermost.
      • Place on a baking sheet.
    • When all scones are formed, brush over the tops with the beaten egg.
    • Bake for 15 minutes, turning the baking sheet around after 10 minutes to ensure even colouring.
    • When fully cooked, allow to firm up for 5 minutes before gently easing them out of the tins. Run a knife around the edge first, in case the glaze has caused it to stick to the tin. Set onto a wire rack to cool.
    • Enjoy at once.

[1] You DO have a copy, don’t you!? No pressure…..

[2] I take a box of warm scones in whenever my car needs some TLC.

[3] Caveat: as long as you eat them within 30 minutes of baking – as they cool, the yolk will continue to cook and longer than half an hour and it will be solid.

[4] Should be at least 90% pork, certainly not less than 85%. My UK recommendations are

  • Black Farmer Premium Pork Sausages
  • Debbie & Andrew’s Harrogate Sausages
  • Sainsbury’s Ultimate Pork Sausages, Taste the Difference Range

This list is by no means exhaustive, they are just the brands I have tasted and can vouch for personally.


Brissants

Brissants

Wotchers!

Another holiday-ish inspired post – Brissants!

“Quoi!?” I hear you exclaim. Quite. Allow me to elaborate.

Picture the scene…

France.

Breakfast.

The sun is barely over the horizon and the first decision of the day is already upon you: Brioche? Or croissant? Even the soothing balm of fresh coffee fails to make this no less stressful a judgement.

Brioche: so rich, doughy, soft and comforting – but there’s no crunch!
Croissants: so flaky, buttery and crisp – but there’s no substance!

I’d be willing to bet even Solomon himself would have chewed his lip a bit over this dilemma – but no more!

For here lyeth the answer……*drumroll* Brissants!

A  name cleverly thought up by my daughter to describe this fabulous combination of buttery brioche dough and buttery, flaky croissant layers.

Buttery, buttery, buttery.

Butter.

Flaky spirals

More substantial than a croissant, lighter, crispier, flakier than a brioche.

Confession: Apart from the name, there’s nothing new about this recipe. If you want to get all nit-picky, it’s proper name is “Brioche feuilletée au beurre”  but that isn’t very descriptive if your French is a bit rusty, and “Brioche made-all-layered-and-puffed-and-stuff with butter” is a bit long-winded. (I may have missed my calling as an international translator of unique repute.) Not sure who came up with the idea – I like to think whoever it was was working from an old baker’s book whose pages were stuck together: started off as a brioche, unwittingly ended up as a croissant method. Win!

Voila Brissants![1]

It’s the Cronut for 2015 without all that greasy deep-frying. *shudders*

They are made with fresh yeast. *waits until you’ve stopped running round shrieking a la Edvard Munch*

scream

Oh no! Not fresh yeast!

Be not alarmed – it’s a ‘throw it all in the mixer’ method. No sponges, no Faff™.

The only downside, if any, is the rising time. Brioche, with it’s enrichment of butter and eggs, already takes longer-than-average to prove. Add to that the layers of butter and it rises (see what I did there? </subtle>).  You can’t – let me rephrase – you shouldn’t put it in a warm place to prove, because the interleaved butter will melt and run out and all your hard work will be for nothing. Best to accept it’ll be about 2 hours and plan accordingly.

These Brissants are unflavoured, apart from the richness of the eggs and butter, but as such are infinitely customisable.

  • Philippe Conticini adds a sprinkling of nibbed sugar in his recipe, before rolling up the dough.
  • Maple sugar is another option, as indeed are all the caramel, dark sugars such as Muscovado and Demerera.
  • If your butter tends towards the ordinary, try whipping in some citrus zest. NB If you try this, do it far enough ahead so that it has time to chill thoroughly to firmness before adding to the dough.
  • Flavouring the dough with orange-flower water, vanilla, cocoa (remember to remove an equivalent weight of flour), chocolate chips…. Have at it!

Brissants

I use my stand mixer and a dough hook to mix, but you can also use a bread maker or do it by hand.

500g strong white bread flour 
60g caster sugar 
10g salt 
15g fresh yeast
75ml warm water
4 large eggs
100g butter, cut into cubes

For the lamination
150g butter

1 large egg to glaze

  • Put the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and stir to mix. Crumble in the yeast and add the water and two of the eggs. Mix.
  • Add the rest of the eggs once the mixture has started to come together.
  • Knead thoroughly for 5 minutes.
  • With the mixer running, add the butter piece by piece. You don’t have to wait until it has been worked in before adding the next piece, just don’t dump it all in at once.
  • Knead until the butter is fully incorporated, about another 5 minutes.
  • Tip out onto a floured surface, shape roughly into a flat square and wrap in plastic.
  • Put into the freezer for 10 minutes. NB  No more than 10 – this is important – you want it chilled enough to match the consistency of the butter, but not so cold as to kill the yeast, so SET THE TIMER.
  • While the dough is chilling, prepare the butter. Flatten it roughly, then wrap it in an envelope of baking parchment, making a 15cm square. Make sure all the folds are underneath, then use a rolling pin to roll the butter out. The envelope will contain the butter very effectively, allowing you to spread it right to the edges to make a very neat square. Chill. The butter that is, not you. Unless you’re becoming a little frazzled making an enriched, laminated dough, in which case – Chill!
  • Remove the dough from the freezer and roll out to a square large enough to hold the butter.
Butter and dough placement

Butter and dough placement

  • Fold the corners in and pinch the edges to seal.
  • Roll out into a long rectangle and then make a book fold – that’s folding the edges into the middle (or preferably a little off-centre), and the folding them in again, like a book.
  • Turn 90 degrees so the fold is on the left and the edges on the right and repeat.
  • Wrap in plastic and chill in the freezer for another 10 minutes. Set the timer.
  • Prepare your tins – I used mini pudding cups like this, but you can also use individual foil cases. Brush with butter or spray liberally with cooking spray.
  • After chilling, roll out the dough to a rectangle 0.5cm thick. Roll up from the wide edge into a sausage, as you would cinnamon buns.
  • Cut into 12 thick slices and place end-up into your prepared tins, so the spiral is visible. The dough should half-fill your tins.
  • Set aside to rise for about 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan.
  • Whisk the egg and lightly brush the top of the dough. Try not to get it dripping down the sides – it’ll glue your dough to the tin and impede the rise as it bakes.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes until risen and brown and glossy.
  • Cool on a wire rack and devour with gusto! Or a fresh coffee. Your call.

[1] Or Crioches,  as my far-too-clever-for-his-own-good friend Dr Dan suggested *shakes fist at his cleverness* 😉