Scones (and their Southern sister, the biscuit) are at their heart a very simple proposition. They are flour, leavening, salt (and sometimes sugar) mixed with cold butter and held together with buttermilk or cream. The moisture in the cold butter evaporates in the oven when it melts, poofing up the dough and producing layers of soft, chewy pastry perfection.
Among the many marvelous attributes of scones are that they are also highly adaptable. They can be a sweet breakfast pastry or stuffed with cheese and chiles and served with soup for dinner.
These Pico de Gallo scones are loaded with sweet red onions, spicy Serrano chiles, Cacique® Ranchero® Queso Fresco and lime zest. Most scone recipes call for heavy cream or buttermilk but I wanted something really special, so I used Cacique® Crema Mexicana to make a soft, pliable dough that produces a fluffy, dreamy scone. They scream Mother’s Day brunch alongside some scrambled eggs and bacon and a big, fat Bloody Mary and because I’m a mother I think I’m in good authority to know what moms want. Of course if you have some left over they would be just as happy accompanying a bowl of chili.
I don’t know why I got it in my head that they would be better cut, but not separated, but whatever brainwave I was on was a good one. They turned out so soft, and almost doughy (a good thing, I promise you). The cheese melted but didn’t get chewy and they were ridiculously fluffy. If you like scones with more of a crunchy edge however, feel free to separate and bake.
These scones are superior fresh from the oven but if you’d like to plan ahead, you can make them up to several days before and stick them (unbaked) in the freezer. When you are ready to bake, just place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and into the hot oven, you don’t need to let them thaw out first or anything.
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WHAT YOU NEED
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, divided
- 1 Serrano chile, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- zest of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
- 1 cup crumbled Ranchero® Queso Fresco
- 1 cup Cacique® Crema Mexicana, plus more for brushing
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Heat oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add Serrano chile, onion, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Combine flour, baking powder, lime zest, tomatoes, and queso in a large bowl. Add cooled onion mixture and stir to combine.
- Using a box grater, grate the remaining butter through the large holes into the flour mixture. Toss the shreds of butter into the flour to coat.
- Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the crema. Using a wooden spoon, combine the mixture until it is a shaggy mass. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a ball. Roll the ball into a 1 1/2-inch thick circle.
- Transfer circle to the parchment-lined baking sheet and cut into 12 scones with a sharp knife. You can leave the circle intact if you like a more doughy scone or separate each triangle about 2-inches apart if you like them more crunchy on the outside. Brush the tops with more crema and place in the oven.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and baked through. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.