Thursday, March 28, 2013

Saskatoon Berry Spelt & Honey Scones

Do you believe we are easing into Easter weekend...already?  Holy man, a quarter of the year done.  Just like that.  Easter is one of my favourite holidays.  Being a chef, the Christmas season is too stressful and chaotic to really enjoy.  Easter is more my style - the snow is (finally!) melting, the birds are singing and the earth is letting out a long sigh, preparing to begin again.  Winter's bulk and baggage is a distant memory.  Easter is about fresh starts and new beginnings and eating countless mini eggs because it's impossible to just stop at one or one handful.  It's about dipping eggs in dye and braiding bread and oh my, the hot cross buns.  Easter is about forging forward - eyes bright, gazing ahead, wondering where life's journey will lead to next.

And then there is the food.  Oh there will be food this weekend.  I'm sure your table will be pretty and your belly, happy.  These scones would be a delicious addition to a brunch spread, but really they are perfect any time.  I recently delved into the realm of spelt flour and I'm really happy I did.  An ancient grain, with a much lower gluten content, spelt is great for those wanting to cut back on their gluten intake. Is it me, or is everyone off gluten these days?  Plus it's higher in protein (20% more) and amino acids and a great source of fibre.  Hot diggity!  Nutritional info mania here.  I love that the stuff I tried was grown locally (and organically) in Saskatchewan - they do great things at Daybreak Mill.  But the main thing is that spelt tastes really good.  Kind of nutty,  just like a certain food blogger I know.   

So let's do this!  The dough is really straightforward.  Stir together dry, cut in butter, pour in wet ingredients and berries and stir just until incorporated.  Scones hate it when you over mix them, so easy does it.  Oh, I should mention you can use any berry you like - blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries.  Go to town.  I had frozen Saskatoon berries in the freezer so that's what I used.  The neat thing here is that the oats are not mixed in with the rest of the ingredients.  You scatter half the oats on your counter and press the dough into them.  And then sprinkle the rest on top.  Cut into circles with your trusty cutter and bake them until golden.  They don't rise a whole lot - I'm assuming it's got something to do with the lower gluten content but I'm not a food scientist; it's just an experienced hunch.  Don't let these low-risers fool you though.  Their interior is still buttery and flaky, as any good scone should be.  Honey adds a nice, mellow, subtle sweetness and the oats create a lovely crunchy exterior.  The berries are juicy and jammy, and can I say just how much I love Saskatoon berries?  There.  Done.  

I sampled these scones recently at a local marketplace and people sort of looked at them skeptically, but once they bit into one they were all these are really good.  And I was like, I know!  So don't let the healthy glare of oats and berries and ancient grains scare you off.  These are super good (for you) and just what a tummy needs after an overdose of cadbury cream eggs.  Serve the scones warm, with a hefty swipe of butter and a drizzle of good honey.  Like with most baked goods, tea is a necessary accompaniment.  Happy Easter.

Saskatoon Berry Spelt & Honey Scones

2 cups spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 heaping tbsp honey
1/2 cup half and half cream
1 cup Saskatoon berries, or berry of your choice (frozen is fine!)
1 cup large flake rolled oats

Preheat oven to 400*F
In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt.  Cut in the cold butter, with a pastry blender or your fingertips, being sure to have some pebble size bits of butter.
In another bowl, beat the egg, stir in vanilla, honey, cream.  Pour this over the dry and stir lightly.  Stir in the berries just until they are incorporated.  Sprinkle half the oats on your counter.  Press the dough into them, about 1/2 inch thick.  Sprinkle the rest on top and lightly press down. Cut out with a cutter, or into triangles with a sharp knife. Place on parchment lined bake sheet and bake for about 16 minutes, until golden.  Makes about 12 scones.  Serve warm with butter and honey.



  1. Happy Easter Renee! These scones look both healthy and delicious.

  2. These look so good, and you know how I love Saskatoons! Have a wonderful weekend.

  3. Denise, thank you! Have a great Easter too.
    Donna, there is nothing like the Saskatoon berry, hey? Enjoy your weekend as well :)

  4. Yum these look great! I've never even heard of saskatoon berries before :)

  5. Nice to see a recipe using spelt flour. I use spelt flour all the time for baking and in most things you can't tell the difference. These scones look delicious and healthy too!
    Happy Easter!

  6. Thanks Jan! Saskatoon berries are native to Western Canada. Sort of similar to a blueberry, but with a deeper, almost almond like flavour. They grow wild on trees and can be a pain to pick, but worth it. There are also farmed berries, available for u-pick, with more predictable results :)
    Agi, thanks! I will definitely use more spelt in my kitchen, now that I know how awesome it is!

  7. Renee, I hope you had a happy Easter! If those scones were on the menu, I'm sure everyone was happy. I'm wondering if you have a good suggestion on making them gf? I am a fan of spelt but can't eat it anymore.
    I have to tell you, every time I visit your site I smile.

  8. One day I hope to taste Saskatoon berries. They sound terrific from your previous post that you linked to. Which, by the way, I somehow missed when you first posted it so it was a treat to catch up on your move back home. I hope you had a lovely Easter and these scones look beautiful!

  9. Erin, you are so sweet. Thank you! As for making them GF, not entirely sure...maybe substitute a basic gluten free flour blend? Good luck!
    Shelley - Easter was great, thanks! Glad you got to read a little archival material :)


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