Tonight is the final episode of "24", a weekly series featuring the show's main character named Jack Bauer, who is played by Kiefer Sutherland. Tonight's two-hour presentation is the very last episode with no new shows ever to be seen again. That makes me sad. Dick and I spent one entire winter watching Netflix DVDs of "24" to bring us up to speed, then we didn't miss a single episode on T.V. after that. A double whammy is that this is the final week of American Idol, that we also faithfully watch, until it resumes in 2011... and Simon Cowell, one of the Idol judges, is leaving the show after 9 seasons. I thrive on change, but some things I like left alone... to remain as they were. What treat could we nibble while watching "24" that would make our last evening with "Jack" a special one? Fig Buckwheat Scones, I think. Yes, a recipe I found on 101cookbooks.com that came from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours by Kim Boyce. The scones taste like Fig Newtons but bursting with nutrition. With a little glass of grass-fed, unhomogenized, unpastuerized, or low-temperature pasteurized milk... perfect.
This is the fig jam for the scone's filling. I subbed orange juice for the wine. I do not have an aversion to cooking or baking with wine. I just didn't have any wine. O.J.... I did. It was a perfect switchout. Due to figs having a high fiber content, they nourish and cleanse the intestines. Because they are a good source of potassium, they are effective in helping to control blood pressure. Figs are among the most highly alkaline foods, so they are beneficial in supporting the proper pH of the body. In addition to potassium, figs are an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese.
Fig Jam Filling
Makes enough filling for 12 scones.
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 whole cloves + 1 star anise (I had no anise, so I used 3 whole cloves.)
1 cup red wine + ½ cup port (I used 1 ½ cups orange juice instead.)
12 ounces dried Black Mission Figs, stems removed (Instead of weighing the figs, I measured out 1 ½ cups. The original recipe states that it makes 2 cups jam filling. When I made the filling, I got 1 cup. Maybe you end up with more figs when you weigh them. No matter. The scone recipe only uses 1 cup anyway and, with the amount of figs that I used, the consistency was perfect.)
¼ tsp cinnamon
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened (I omitted.)
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, gently mix the water and sugar together with a wooden spoon without splashing it up the sides, otherwise crystals will form on the sides of the pot during the cooking process. If crystals do form, you can use a clean pastry brush dipped in water to wipe them off. Add the cloves and star anise. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium flame and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the syrup is amber-colored. For even coloring, the flame should not come up around the outside of the pot. Watch the time, as the mixture can go from a beautiful caramel color to burnt very quickly. The syrup is hot so stand back a bit when adding the red wine and port (or orange juice), figs, and cinnamon. The syrup hardens when the liquids are added to it. Don’t panic. Continue cooking the mixture over a medium flame for 2 minutes until the sugar syrup and the liquid blend. Reduce the flame to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the stove and cool to room temperature. Discard the cloves and star anise. Pour the cooled figs, along with their liquid, into a food processor and purée until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the softened butter (if using) to the fig mixture and process until smooth. The fig jam can be spread immediately onto the buckwheat scone dough or stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. If it is refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before using.
Fig Buckwheat Scones
Makes 12 scones.
Note: The recipe from 101cookbooks.com called for ½ cup sugar, ½ cup butter, and 1 ¼ cups heavy cream. I chose to use my recipe for Sweet Potato Scones instead, with some minor flour variety adaptations. Instead of sugar, butter, and heavy cream (typical scone ingredients), it uses small amounts of maple syrup, olive oil, and yogurt with sweet potato for added nutrition. It rolled out nicely creating a perfect surface on which to spread the fig jam.
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup oat flour
¾ cup barley flour
4 tbsp flaxseed
4 tbsp wheat germ
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp canola or olive oil
2 tbsp real maple syrup
1/3 cup plain organic yogurt (I used homemade yogurt.)
1 cup raw shredded sweet potato, yam, or carrots
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Stir wet ingredients into dry until just combined. Do not overmix. Transfer the dough onto a well-floured surface. It will be sticky, so flour your hands and pat the dough into a rectangle. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8-inch X 16-inch rectangle that is 3/4 inch thick. Use your hands to square the corners and pat it into shape. As you’re rolling, periodically run a pastry scraper or spatula underneath to loosen the dough, flour the surface, and continue rolling. This keeps the dough from sticking. Flour the top of the dough if the rolling pin is sticking. Spread 1 cup of the fig jam on top of the dough in an even layer. Roll up the long edge of the dough, patting the dough as you roll so that it forms a log 16 inches long. Roll the finished log so that the seam is on the bottom and the weight of the roll seals the edge. Use a sharp knife to slice the log in half, then cut each half into 6 equal pieces. (I found it helpful to wet the knife periodically in a glass of water to keep it from sticking.) Line a baking sheet with natural unbleached parchment paper. Place each scone, with the spiral of the fig jam facing up, on the baking sheet. Give the scones a squeeze to shape them into rounds. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes. The scones are ready to come out when their undersides are golden brown.