Silver and food have become inextricably linked in my head. Not for the obvious reason that we use silver to serve and eat food, but because every time something ‘new’ arrives at Silver Magpies, my immediate thought is what can I make to showcase this piece? Among a new estate that I’m working on is this wonderful modernist silver compote by Stieff (of all people!!). As I looked at it and immediately began to think of the photographs, I felt compelled to make some vanilla scones to provide an eye-catching contrast.
The compote itself is all 60’s space age cool. No extras at all, just a fabulous unabashed silhouette. It’s a very confident piece — you either love it or leave it. Personally, I love it; I’m all about the unadorned silhouette, whether classic Georgian or über-Modern.
But I’ve heard from many clients and customers that they are wary of pieces like this because they feel the only way to use them is in an equally cool, sleek way.
Fear not silver friends!
Just as you shouldn’t feel compelled only to use a piece in the way that it is named (fried oyster servers can be used for all sorts of things), don’t feel constrained by the design either.
A very streamlined piece like this compote isn’t only for precise California rolls or a single (perfect) pillar candle. Juxtaposition works very well. Vanilla scones – free-form, utterly rustic, and mouthwateringly delicious – immediately leapt to my mind.
Vanilla Scones (click on the title for a printer-friendly version)
- 3 cups self-raising flour*
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 cups cream
- 2 or 3 whole vanilla beans
- 1/4 cup sugar for decorating
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Pour the cream into a bowl or measuring jug. On a cutting board, carefully slit open the vanilla beans and scrape out the seeds. Vigorously stir the seeds into the cream. If you have not scraped vanilla seeds before, watch this video.
In a medium size mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. Slowly stir in the cream. This is the only tricky part of making scones…don’t overmix.
The dough will look like a shaggy mess when you are done adding the cream. All the flour should be incorporated, but the dough will not be smooth like a well-kneaded bread dough! Trust me…it will all be fine. Too much mixing to make the dough smooth ends up making the scones tough, rather like hockey pucks. Not the effect you are after!
Divide the dough into 12-14 balls and place on the parchment-lined cookie sheets. Pat each ball down a bit to give it a flat top. Then sprinkle with sugar.
Place in the oven and cook for 15-18 minutes. If you are using two oven shelves, open the oven halfway through the cooking time and switch which pan is on what shelf.
Pull out of the oven and let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack. Beware, the heavenly aroma of the vanilla scones will draw hungry adults, children and dogs into your kitchen. If you need to take photos, I advise you to work fast. On the off-chance some survive the initial rush, I’m told they do freeze well.
Makes 12-14 scones.
* No self-raising flour? Use 3 cups regular flour plus 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder. You will have to add a tiny bit more liquid to compensate. I use another 1-2 tbsp. skim milk when I make them this way.
Forgive my late posting this week, I’ve been a bit under the weather.
The compote pictured and a number of other fabulous pieces will be coming to Silver Magpies soon. Consider this a sneak peek!