From time-to-time we add new recipes, while leaving the previous favorites for future reference. We hope you will try some yourself – perhaps a reminder of your Country Willows breakfast experience.
As a prelude to breakfast, these muffins go nicely with that first cup of coffee or tea. Use mini-muffin pans for a diminutive size and guilt-free enjoyment! These are quick and easy to make.
2½ cups unbleached white flour *
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 scant cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Grated zest of one lemon (optional)
1½ cups blueberries (or other berries in season)
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease mini-muffin pans or about 18 muffin cups.Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add milk, butter, eggs and zest.Gently mix ingredients until well blended. Fold in the blueberries that have been dusted with a little flour. Spoon batter into cups.Sprinkle tops with a little sugar; bake for 10 to 20 minutes depending on size, or until light brown.
* You may substitute white whole wheat flour (King Arthur) for part of the white flour
Poached Eggs Florentine with Polenta | Gingerbread Cookies | Stollen
Caramelized Cinnamon Raisin French Toast | Spring Asparagus Frittata | Pear Preserves
Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cookies | Rhubarb Bread | Banana Buckwheat Pancakes | Granola
Apple Slices with Honey Lemon Poppyseed Glaze | Slow Cooked Bacon | Pumpkin Spice Pancakes |Maple Cranberry Butter | Oranges and Prunes in Cardamom Tea Syrup | Cardamom Prune Scones
This dish is full of fresh flavor and is visually elegant. Serves four.
Although the recipe looks lengthy, in reality it is quite simple and fun to make. It lends itself beautifully to preparation the night before and is easily doubled. In the morning, simply warm the spinach and re-heat the sauce. For final assembly, all that is needed is to poach the eggs and saute the polenta.
1 - 1½ # fresh spinach (or Swiss chard or arugula)
2 T. butter
Pinch of salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg
3 T. whipping cream (or half and half)
2 - 3 T. butter
¼ c. flour
Pinch of mace (optional)
½ c. Jarlsberg cheese, grated (or Swiss cheese)
1 c. hot whole milk
2 T. freshly finely grated parmesan cheese
Preparing the Spinach
Place washed spinach in large pan and cook on low heat about 3 - 4 minutes until wilted. Drain well to remove excess water and chop. Melt butter in same pan and add drained & chopped spinach, seasonings and cream. Heat thoroughly.
Divide spinach mixture into four gratin dishes, making a well in the center of each. (At this point, dishes may be covered with foil and placed in refrigerator overnight. When ready to bake, place covered gratin dishes on a cookie sheet in a 200º oven to warm before final assembly.)
Preparing the Topping
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and stir until incorporated. Add the hot milk and blend well with a whisk until smooth. Add the Jarlsberg cheese and stir until blended. (May be refrigerated until ready to top over spinach. Re-warm at a very low heat to prevent scorching.)
Final assembly and baking
Poach 4 eggs in egg poacher or slip eggs into simmering water in large pan and poach 3 - 5 minutes. Place poached egg in "well" of spinach mixture in gratin pan and spoon several spoonfuls of cheese sauce over egg and spinach. Sprinkle finely grated parmesan cheese over top of each dish. Broil briefly until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. Sprinkle with paprika and serve with grilled polenta and a garnish of fresh greens.
6½ c. cold water
2 tsp. salt
2 cups polenta (coarse grained cornmeal)
½ c. unsalted butter
1 c. shredded parmesan cheese
Place water, salt, and polenta in large heavy saucepan. Cook over med-low heat stirring often (I use a heavy whisk) until mixture thickens, being careful to scrape along bottom of pan during the stirring. When mixture is thick (like pudding) remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese. Pour polenta onto a lightly greased rimmed cookie sheet. Spread with spatula to smooth out evenly.
Once cooled, refrigerate tray until firm. (Nice to make the evening before if serving for breakfast.) Cut into squares - usually 12 per cookie sheet. Cut each square into two triangles.
Grill/saute over medium-high heat (a cast iron pan works great) for about a minute or two on each side until browned and slightly crisp. Serve along side the Florentine.
Leftover polenta is wonderful topped with a chunky tomato sauce and cheese or with a pesto/fresh tomato/egg topping for a tasty lunch or dinner.
Sweet and spicy, children of all ages will appreciate these tasty cookies all winter long. Rolled thin or thick to deliver either crisp or soft cookies, this versatile recipe rolls our beautifully immediately after mixing or you may chill dough to create your cookies later. Use specialty cookie cutters to suit your fancy... don't forget hearts for Valentines Day! Decorate before baking with colored sugars, red cinnamon dots and/or raisins or pipe icing afterwards for custom details.
Pictured are gingerbread tomtens, (traditional Swedish gnomes said to watch over the family farm animals) -- a Young family favorite.
½ cup salted butter (1 stick)
½ cup vegetable shortening *
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 large (or extra-large) egg
1 cup molasses
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
5 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 Tbs. powdered ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
* Crisco or Nutiva. An organic coconut oil, Nutiva is a wonderful substitute containing no trans or hydrogenated fat
Preheat oven to 375º Cream butter, shortening, sugar, and salt. Add egg, molasses and vinegar. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and combine until thoroughly mixed. May use immediately or chill in plastic wrap or foil for later use.
Turn dough out onto flour covered board or counter surface. Mound into a ball, then pat with hands to flatten slightly. Using flour-covered rolling pin, roll to desired thickness. Using cookie cutters, press out shapes and place on parchment-covered cookie sheets. Decorate with colored sugars, currants, and/or cinnamon hots. Bake as follows:
Rolled thin (1/8 inch) bake 6-8 minutes
Rolled thick (1/4 inch) bake 7-9 minutes.
Watch carefully -- as oven temperatures vary, these tend to burn easily
After baking, cool slightly on cookie sheets and then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Optional icing may be applied.
Studded with fruit and infused with an aromatic combination of spices and ground almonds, stollen is a favorite holiday treat. This recipe makes two stollens - one for you and one to give away as a gift! A quick bread version of the yeast stollen, this delightful bread has a tender crumb and is easier to make than traditional German stollen.
2½ cups flour
2 tsp.baking powder
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. mace*
5-6 cardamom seeds, crushed
(or, substitute ½ tsp. ground cardamom)
¾ cup finely ground almonds ½ cup butter
1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
2 Tbs. brandy
½ cup currants
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup candied lemon or orange peel
¼ cup diced dried apricots)
melted butter (optional)
Yum! Remember old fashioned sticky buns fragrant from the oven? Now you can relive those memories with this easy to prepare, time saving overnight French Toast. Crispy on the outside, light and fluffy inside, with its own caramel nut syrup layer - delicious! Perfect for your next spring brunch.
Carmelized Cinnamon Raisin French Toast
½ cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 T. dark corn syrup (or honey or agave)
¾ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
½ cup golden raisins
1½ cups milk
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
6-8 slices of one inch thick day-old or air-dried cinnamon raisin or French bread **
In medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar and syrup and stir over heat until thickened, about 2 minutes. Pour into a 9 X 13 inch pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle nuts and raisins over syrup. Arrange bread slices on top in one layer.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and spices until well blended. Pour over bread making sure all areas are covered. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Bring dish to room temperature (allow about 20 minutes).
Preheat oven to 350º Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes. Outside edges and top will be firm and somewhat crispy. Let set several minutes out of the oven. Remove slices with a spatula and invert onto plate. May serve as a whole slice or cut diagonally in pan to form triangles. Add a dollop of whipped cream, freshly grated nutmeg, and a sprig of mint as a garnish for an elegant presentation.
We think this is best made with a whole grain, not too sweet cinnamon raisin bread or a sourdough French type loaf from a local bakery that you slice thickly yourself (or they do!)
Drier bread works best because fresh bread absorbs too much liquid and is apt to lose its shape or become soggy. Air drying several hours on a wire rack will suffice.
A frittata is a wonderful way to dress up the ordinary egg. A frittata is an Italian style flat omelet that can star in many roles - from a simple at-home breakfast with ingredients on hand, to a more elaborate brunch gathering with seasonal vegetables and herbs. It is even suitable for picnics as it can be easily transported and served room temperature. Frittatas are fast, fun, and foolproof fare!
A favorite frittata for spring menus here at Country Willows incorporates fresh tender asparagus, new red potatoes, grated fresh cheese, and a handful of fresh herbs. Feel free to adjust ingredients with the seasons as you see fit!
Spring Asparagus Frittata Serves 6 - 8
2 - 3 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 new red potatoes, scrubbed, but not peeled, sliced ? inch thick
1 bunch fresh asparagus (12 oz. or so) woody ends trimmed and stalks
cut in ½ inch pieces, lightly steamed until tender crisp & bright in color
8 - 10 eggs
3 T. whipping cream or "half and half" (Optional)
½ t. salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 T. fresh chopped rosemary or tarragon
Liberal sprinkling of dry spice, e.g. Trader Joes's 21 Seasoning Salute (Optional)
? c. grated fresh parmesan cheese
? c. grated fresh Gruyere (or Swiss) cheese
Preheat oven to 350º
In a 10 inch cast iron or oven-proof skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and sliced potatoes. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are tender and translucent. Turn once or twice to assure even browning and prevent sticking. Takes about 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, optional cream, salt, pepper, and dry seasoning. Set aside.
Gently stir in asparagus and fresh herbs to skillet mixture. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and sprinkle over all with cheese. As eggs begin to set over medium-low heat, slip a spatula under egg edges, letting egg mixture flow underneath. Let cook undisturbed about five minutes, until edges begin to firm, but top is still a bit runny.
Transfer skillet to oven and continue cooking until eggs fully set - about another 10-15 minutes. Check frittata (oven temperature/cooking times vary) to test for overall firmness. Cover with foil if browning too quickly. Remove from oven and run a spatula under edges to loosen and remove. Slide onto plate or cut from skillet into wedges to serve. Garnish with fresh chives and cherry tomatoes for color. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Sometimes I'll steam small cubed new red potatoes the evening before and refrigerate. Then in the morning add to onion/garlic mixture and sauté. Your choice. Also, you can add asparagus pieces (especially thin stalks) and sauté directly without pre-steaming.
Other combinations that I find work nicely for seasonal Frittatas include:
Fresh spinach or ruby chardRed onionSundried tomatoesFresh basil, parsley, or oreganoParmesan and/or Goat cheeseToasted pine nuts (topping)
Fresh ZucchiniScallionsRoasted sweet red pepperFresh tarragon or dillFresh grated Parmesan and/or Feta cheese
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree . . . A Pair of Pear Recipes for the Holidays!
As the apple is to New England, so the pear is to the Northwest. Here in Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley (home ofHarry and David whose very name suggests all things pear), pear orchards dot the landscape. With their infinite variety, mouthwatering juiciness and flavor, and appealing shapes in shades of green and gold, it's no wonder the pear is revered and portrayed artfully throughout history.
We are fortunate to have such a pear tree right outside our back kitchen door. This year our marvelous old pear tree yielded a bumper crop which I could not ignore. Hence, the search began in earnest for pear recipes to turn into luscious delights to tantalize taste buds at breakfast and beyond.
With a few adaptations, I created and canned four pear preserve type recipes, two that I feel particularly worthy and not too time consuming. Gathering together with a few friends to make these preserves makes the job fun and will lighten the tasks at hand! Presented as gifts or served alongside a special holiday dinner, both of these are easy and satisfying to make. They have the added option of canning (for later use) or if you choose to give as a gift, merely putting them up in pretty jars to either refrigerate or freeze for a period of time for your recipient to enjoy. Both of the recipes below lend themselves to doubling.
Spiced Pear Jam
8 cups peeled finely chopped ripe pears (Bartlett or Anjou work best)
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon (heaping) ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1. Add all the ingredients to a large pot (or Dutch Oven).
2. Bring mixture to a boil and stir constantly.
3. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for one to two hours
(or until thickened).
4. Slightly mash. (It's OK to be a bit chunky).
5. Skim off any foam.
6. Pour into hot sterilized jars, filling to about ¼ inch from the top.
7. Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims.
8. Cover quickly with metal lids and screw on bands.
9. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. *
Pear - Cherry Chutney
5 cups peeled finely chopped ripe pears
½ cup sugar
1 cup dried tart red cherries
2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
? cup fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground allspice
1. In a large saucepan combine sugar, cherries, lemon peel,
lemon juice, cinnamon, and allspice.
2. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low.
3. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in pears; return to boiling.
5. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until pears are just tender.
6. Pour immediately into hot sterilized jars, filling to about ¼ inch from the top.
7. Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims
8. Cover quickly with metal lids and screw on bands.
9. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. *
* Alternatively, for both of the above recipes, you may do the following
in place of the last (water bath)step:
Transfer to a storage container or glass jars for gift giving. Cover and chill in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Or place in a freezer container; cover and freeze up to 6 months.
First snows appear atop Grizzly Peak across the valley and we're watching for frost on the pumpkins... Try these hearty cookies on a chilly day and they'll warm your heart! A favorite fall cookie here at Country Willows.
Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cookies
2 c. unbleached white flour
½ c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. graded fresh nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter (at room temp.)
1½ c. sugar
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips (or mini-chips)
½ c. walnuts or toasted pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add and pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and beat just until blended. Mix in dry ingredients.
With a rubber spatula, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop the batter in heaping tablespoons 1 inch apart on greased or parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. You may want to rotate the sheets halfway through baking to ensure even baking. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a few minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen.
Spring is a beautiful time here at Country Willows. The month of May is particularly memorable with heather, dogwood, wisteria, rosemary, and the ethereal blossoms of the apple, cherry, pear, and plum trees. It's a time for celebrating the return of longer, warmer, summer-like days. Days are spent preparing the garden, planting seeds, and carefully tending to the young shoots that reappear faithfully each year.
One such plant that we eagerly look forward to its return each spring is the rhubarb plant. There's nothing better than a strawberry - rhubarb pie, but rhubarb can stand on its own too. Look for firm, red stalks (don't eat the leaves) if you buy these at the grocery store. A favorite with tea or coffee for spring breakfasts is the following rhubarb bread recipe.
1¼ c. brown sugar
? c. canola oil
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk
2½ c. flour (I use 1 c. whole wheat, 1½ c. white)
1½ c. cut rhubarb - finely chopped
½ c. chopped nuts (optional)
Beat brown sugar and oil. Add egg, soda, salt, vanilla, and buttermilk and blend well. Then stir in flour, rhubarb, and nuts and beat well. Pour into greased loaf pan (9 X 5) or smaller mini pans. Sprinkle top with mixture of ½ cup sugar mixed with 1 T butter. Bake at 325º for about 1 hour. (30 minutes if smaller pans - check)
Note: I often make mini muffins with this recipe. If you do, bake in greased mini-muffin pans at 375º for about 10 minutes.
Banana Buckwheat Pancakes
Spring outdoor activities require lots of energy and a nutritious and filling breakfast is welcomed. One of our favorites and often requested by our guests is Banana Buckwheat Pancakes. It's hearty with multigrain flours, ripe banana, and creamy buttermilk. Adding fresh (or frozen) berries to batter on the griddle makes these even more special.
? c. whole wheat flour
? c. buckwheat flour
? c. unbleached white flour
¼ c. cornmeal
1 T. baking powder
1 teas. baking soda
2 T. turbinado or brown sugar
1 ripe banana
1½ c. buttermilk
2 T. canola oil
Butter and additional canola oil for brushing griddle
In large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. In mixer bowl, blend banana, egg, buttermilk, and the oil. Add dry ingredients and mix well until combined. Heat griddle over moderately high heat. Brush with oil and then butter before dropping batter (¼ c. each) onto griddle. Cook 1-2 minutes on each side. Makes about 8 to 10 5-inch pancakes
A nice change from butter as a topping for buckwheat and other pancakes is banana cream. It's deliciously sweet with mellow bananas and apple flavors. Make this the night before the pancake breakfast and then fold in the whipped cream in the morning. Nice with fresh summer berries as well.
2 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
½ c. unsweetened apple juice
? c. powdered sugar
1 scant T. fresh lemon juice
½ pt. heavy cream
Combine the bananas, apple juice, powdered sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to boil and then simmer mixture 'till bananas are very soft. With a slotted spoon, strain banana mixture into a blender, reserving liquid. Then add about half of this reserved liquid to blender as well. Whirl 'till smooth. Put into a bowl to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, whip cream until thick. Fold in banana cream base. Spoon over pancakes or serve alongside fresh berries.
Chilly winter weather is a great time to get cozy and warm in the kitchen while mixing up a batch of Country Willowsgranola. A long time favorite here at the Inn, our granola is offered self-serve style during breakfast and is also sold in our gift shop year round. Chock full of healthful ingredients, the recipe can be easily doubled (or even tripled) for an extra large batch. Your extra efforts will reward you with a tasty treat for days to come!
Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:
5 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup each:
Green pumpkin seeds
Non-fat milk powder
Thinly sliced, then chopped fresh coconut (optional)
Mix liquid ingredients in a small bowl:
1 cup canola or sunflower oil
1 cup honey or maple syrup ( I use ½ cup of each)
Add liquid ingredients to large bowl and mix well. (hands are best)
Preheat oven to 250 º
Spread onto rimmed cookie sheets and bake 1 to 1½ hours until toasty brown.
Turn and stir every 15 minutes.
Let cool in large bowl. Break up any clumps and store in glass jar or freezer bags.
As long-time New Englanders, the welcome arrival of fall conjures up images of bright orange pumpkins along roadside stands, baskets of just-picked crisp apples, and glorious vistas of autumn color. To our delight, an Ashland autumn evokes many autumnal images of its own - Lithia Park awash in color against deep dark evergreens, crisp sunny days in vivid blue skies, and our own garden brimming with seasonal produce and colorful blooms long into the fall season.
A leisurely weekend breakfast in autumn can be a glorious affair. Here at the Inn, we like to utilize fall's bounty, from flower to fruit, from field to farm. In so doing, we try to create a delicious partaking of this season's gifts to us. Below you will find a typical fall/winter breakfast menu for you to try at home. These recipes lend themselves wonderfully for holiday get-togethers with family or friends!
Apple Slices with Honey Lemon Poppyseed Glaze Serves 4 - 6
Use those crisp beautiful fall apples in a delightful first course. It's fresh tasting and not too sweet. Using two color apples provides contrast and interest!
4 medium slightly tart apples (2 red, 2 green)
4 t. lemon juice
¼ c. honey
2 t. poppy seeds
2 t. lemon zest
¼ c. chopped pistachios (or nut of your choice)
¼ c. dried cranberries
Core and cut apples into ¼ inch slices. Toss in 2 t.lemon juice. Combine honey, poppy seeds, remaining lemon juice and zest to create a glaze. Pour over apples and mix. Arrange in a mound on a small plate. Sprinkle with nuts and cranberries and a garnish of mint.
Slow Cooked Bacon
Perfect for a crowd, this results in deliciously crisp bacon and carefree cooking - less stress, less mess!
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line rimmed cookie sheet with foil overlapping edges. Lay bacon slices crosswise making sure they do not touch each other. Bake at 300º for about an hour. No need to turn bacon. Drain on paper towels. . Fold up edges of foil and bring to middle to crumple and throw away for easy clean-up. Note: Oven temperatures vary as do bacon thicknesses. You may need to raise the temperature to ensure crispness desired near the end of the hour
Pumpkin Spice Pancakes Serves 4 - 6
A favorite of our guests, these pancakes are wholesome, light, and fragrant while cooking on the grill. Serve piping hot with real maple syrup and maple cranberry butter.
1 c. unbleached flour
¼ c. whole wheat flour
2 T. brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
½ t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
¼ t. cloves
¼ t. allspice
½ t. salt
1 1/3 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
¾ c. canned pure pumpkin
4 eggs, separated
¼ c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Optional: toasted pecans, chopped
Stir together first 8 ingredients in large bowl In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk, egg yolks, melted butter, and vanilla. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just until smooth.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold whites into batter in several additions. Heat grill or pan with a little oil and butter mixture. Pour 1/3 c. portions onto skillet and cook until bubbles appear on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown (about 1 ½ minutes per side). Sprinkle pecans on top if desired before flipping. Flip and repeat with remaining batter, renewing oil/butter mixture between batches.
Maple Cranberry Butter
Serve this atop pumpkin pancakes for visual and taste appeal!
¼ c. real maple syrup
½ c. fresh cranberries
½ c. unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
Bring maple syrup and cranberries to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer until berries pop. Cool. Add to softened butter and blend. Refrigerate until serving. Scoop out small spoonfuls to top pancakes.
Cardamom, a delightfully aromatic Indian spice, is frequently used in our breakfast entrees. We love its fragrant scent and how it lends a delicious pungency to food.
Prunes, a healthy source of fiber, are often given second-class status. Rest assured, these dried plums, as they are more affectionately known, work wonderfully in the following recipes from Country Willows.
Oranges and Prunes in Cardamom Tea Syrup
Earl Grey tea in combination with cardamom flavors this unique fruit course using delicious seasonal navel oranges.
8 Medium navel oranges
4 Earl Grey tea bags
14 to 16 cardamom pods
¾ cup sugar
24 pitted prunes (about 7 ounces)
With a vegetable peeler remove zest from 2 oranges and in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan combine zest and tea bags. Bring 4 ½ cups water to a boil and pour over zest and tea bags. Let mixture steep 5 minutes and discard tea bags. Halve cardamom pods and add with sugar to tea mixture, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
In pan boil tea mixture until reduced to about 3 ½ cups. Pour mixture into a large heatproof bowl and add prunes. Cool mixture completely and discard zest.
With a sharp knife cut peel from oranges, including all white pith. Cut oranges crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices and add to prune mixture. Macerate fruit, covered and chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Bring fruit to room temperature before serving. Serves 8.
Cardamom -Prune Scones
Delectable and cardamom infused, these scones are moist and light. Serve for breakfast or on a sunny spring afternoon with tea.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds (or powder)
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sour cream
1 large egg
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut up
¾ cup finely cut moist prunes
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Put flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt into a large bowl. Mix well.
In another bowl, beat sour cream, egg, sugar, and lemon peel until well blended.
Add butter to the flour mixture and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers, until the mixture looks like fine granules. Add prunes and toss to distribute evenly.
Add sour cream mixture and stir with a spoon until a sticky dough forms. Gather into a mound. Pat dough out on a floured surface with hands to about 1/4 inch thick. I use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to press out the shapes.
Place scones 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 - 15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 1 to 1 1/2 dozen scones depending on cutter size.