I had a Bridget Jones moment yesterday afternoon, the one where she runs through the snow with no pants on, that kind of moment. It started to rain quite unexpectedly, and though this has been happening a lot in the past years, we are nevertheless surprised every time, since we don´t get used to this semi-tropical weather. Parts of this city become quite a mess when it rains wildly. Messy is a nice word for flooded, the kind where cars can end up drifting past your window like boats. There were some advances made by the city government, new pipes to aid in the overflowing of a nearby stream and such, but the haunting memories of past huge floods still linger.
My mom had an old car she left parked in my street. She didn´t use it and I live in a quite populated neighborhood so it was supposed to be a good idea. A year ago I personally saw as my mom´s car drifted away like a paper boat in a bathtub. Now, I have my father´s car parked outside my house. He left on a two week trip a few days ago, and, after taking him to the airport I left his car here until he comes back, since he lives 30 km from my house. And when something like that happens once you can argue it was bad luck, but twice is human stupidity. And the human in this scenario would be me.
So, the rain was starting to fall heavily, my dad´s car was parked outside just like my mother´s had been 2 years ago, and I had a bunch of fresh laundry hanging outside. My first reaction was to go to the terrace to pick up the clothes, since I had just washed them, and somehow, the idea of a second wash was worse than calling my dad to tell him that his car had turned into a boat... I realize now that my mind was not very cooperative.
Anyway, I put on my crocs and darted outside, picking my wet items as fast as I could. It was in the middle of that chore, when I realized I was wearing a t-shirt, my crocs and my underwear. Nothing else. And, since my terrace light was on and it was starting to get dark, the building across the street was having a view to remember. But as I became aware of my situation, I realized that the rain had almost stopped, so I was simply this maniac woman, with half her clothes on that didn´t really fit with the whole picture.
Well, I calmly went inside, and decided to make some nice, warm, flaky scones. The kind you have the urge to bake when you want some comfort food, or it´s raining… Or are terribly embarrassed. Or all of the above. Nothing beats a warm scone on a rainy day. And nothing beats squishing dough with my hands in an attempt to erase the shame. I ate them while playing the scene over and over again, just like Bridget and her fireman pole experience. So it´s fair to say I had two Bridget Jones moments yesterday...
APRICOT FLAKY SCONES
adapted from Baking For All Occassions, by Flo Braker
The author writes about chilling the dough in a rectangle and folding it onto itself three times before cutting the scones with a knife into wedges. I just went my usual route which is described below. I glazed some with milk, some with cream and used white and brown sugar. I still like them plain, no glaze. If you like a crunchy, sweet crust I suggest the milk/white sugar glaze.
Makes 8 scones
3 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup + 2Tbs (90g) sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
6oz. (170g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¾ cup (115g) chopped moist dried apricots
½ cup (70g) chopped cashew nuts
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 cup well-shaken cold buttermilk (or 2 Tbs lemon juice mixed with 1 cup whole milk)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (I didn´t have any).
In a large bowl put flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt together. Mix well with a fork.
Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or the palm of your hands (I used my hands) work everything together until the butter is the size of peas. Stir apricots, nuts and zest.
Drizzle the buttermilk over the surface, and quickly mix everything together with a fork until it becomes a shaggy mass. With lightly floured hands turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Pat lightly, kneading only if needed, and cut circles or wedges.
Arrange them on the baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400º while scones are in the fridge.
Glaze scones with your choice of milk, cream or buttermilk and sprinkle any sugar you want. Or just leave them plain.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and risen.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool a bit. Serve warm.