I’ve always known that food can bring comfort in the most unexpected ways, but sometimes it takes a little reminder to acknowledge the power that food actually holds.
You know, like when I sat down at the small but famous H K Wonton Garden in New York’s Chinatown, and devoured an entire bowl of Chinese dumpling soup. I was transported immediately to Asia, back to the familiar streets of Singapore and felt for just a moment that I was with my family again.
Or the other time when I ordered an egg tart in Mandarin, when just a few words led to an exchange of money and the coveted tart, and then experienced the feelings of pleasure that overcome me as I bit into the rich, custardy tart, a dessert I used to eat often in my childhood.
It’s in these moments of bliss – brought about by a culinary experience and having memories triggered by familiar tastes and aromas – that I am reminded that we, as human beings, will always have memories tied to foods that we eat, and that food will always be a large part of us.
When I first started learning to bake in Argentina, one of the first recipes I tried was for scones – Juan’s mum’s scones to be precise.
She’d combine the ingredients for the dough and use two knives to cut the cold butter until no large chunks were left. She’d later toss out the dough onto the floured marble kitchen counter, on which she’d flatten it into a large round disk, before using the top of a round glass to cut out circles of dough. She would then place the dough circles on a greased baking tray, and into the oven they went, before coming out warm and grand and beautiful.
These were scones that Juan’s mum would make even when Juan and his brother Fran were just little boys – a regular after-school treat that they’d grab with gusto and bite greedily into. For Juan, these scones bring him the same type of comfort and memories that a bowl full of hot Chinese dumplings would bring me.
However, when Juan was diagnosed with Celiac disease and we began removing gluten from our kitchen, I never thought that we’d be able to re-create the same kind of scones his mum used to make for him.
You see, it’s not often easy to get the right texture with gluten-free flours (for the very simple reason that gluten is what gives many baked goods the texture they have).
I made these gluten-free pumpkin scones last Thursday, the day before we headed to New York for a short weekend trip and to meet up with a lovely friend from our Mannheim exchange days.
I’d been wanting to try Laura’s scone recipe for a few weeks already, and given that I’d an unopened can of pumpkin puree sitting on my counter, I decided to give them a shot.
When Juan returned home from work that day, and bit into a scone, his eyes opened wide and the next few words really surprised me. “These scones taste just like my mum’s scones!”, he blurted out. Which was really a wonderful compliment indeed.
So I’m very happy to present these gluten-free pumpkin scones…which are so good, you won’t realize that there isn’t any gluten in them!
- 1½ cups of gluten-free flour blend
- ½ cup of sugar
- 3 teaspoons of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 6 tablespoons of frozen unsalted butter
- ½ cup of pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon of milk
- 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt
- Pre-heat oven to 425 deg Fahrenheit (218 deg Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a medium bowl, combine gluten-free flour with sugar, baking powder and salt, then mix well.
- Grate frozen butter using a cheese grater into the dry ingredients, then mix gently with your fingers until there are no more large chunks left
- In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, egg, milk and yogurt until well combined
- Slowly add in the dry ingredients, stirring until just you get a homogeneous dough, but do not over stir
- Remove dough onto a lighted flour surface (make sure you use gluten-free flour) and form a round disk
- Cut dough into 6 equal triangles and place triangles on prepared baking sheet, making sure that each triangle has plenty of space around it (the dough will expand)
- Bake dough for 14 to 16 minutes or until edges turn golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the middle of the scones comes out clean
- Serve scones warm with whipped cream, maple syrup, or eat them plain!