Yogurt Scones with Roasted Pears and Chocolate Chunks


Dave and Lorie, Steve’s brother and sister-in-law were in New York city last weekend. The flew up from Raleigh, NC to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. We met up with them for brunch on Sunday at the Bryant Park Grill, a restaurant right behind the New York Public Library on the edge of Bryant Park. We had just been seated at our table and placed our drink orders when Lorie turned to me and half-whispered: Is that who I think it is, sitting behind you? I turned around and saw a handsome, older man, with perfect hair, wearing a black dress shirt and a dark, orange tan, sitting right next to me. I recognized him immediately. It’s Mitt Romney, I half-whispered back to Lorie. We both smiled and the four of us went back to catching up.

That’s one of the things I love about living in New York city. Not the celebrity sightings per se, but the fact that when you do see someone famous, they are often doing exactly what you are doing: walking the streets (I walked next to Ted Donovan the very next day after the Romney sighting), taking the subway, eating at a restaurant right next to you. The walking-centered life of the city and the sheer density of it means that no matter how famous you are, it’s hard to hide behind a limo’s darkened windows or in private rooms in restaurants. It also means that New Yorkers will see you and go on with their lives (most of the time). You won’t be hassled or stopped for autographs and selfies.

So, the next time you are in New York, or if you live here, and you are standing in line at a coffee shop ordering your half-caf latte and a roasted pear and chocolate chunk scone, look around you. That woman with the long, curly hair standing behind you might just be Sarah Jessica Parker. And if she is, don’t freak out and yell Carrie! in a high-pitched girlie voice. Be cool and act like nothing happened.

Oh who am I kidding! If you do see SJP, you have my permission to go fanboy/fangirl-crazy. But just this once. You’re back to your cool and aloof New Yorker self after that.


Yogurt Scones with Roasted Pears and Chocolate Chunks – Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


2 large (or 3 small) firm pears
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup (7 oz) Greek yogurt (full fat)
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup (3 ounces or 85 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped in chunks
1 large egg and 1 tablespoon water, whisked together
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar


Heat oven to 375°F. Peel and core the pears and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange pear pieces on parchment and roast until they feel dry to the touch and start to brown underneath, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven but leave oven on. Allow pear pieces to cool while preparing the rest of the recipe.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, cream, and 1 egg until combined. Pour yogurt mixture over flour mixture and gently fold it with a spatula until it just comes together. Add cooled pear pieces and chocolate chunks and fold a few more times. Don’t overtax.

Dump dough on a lightly floured surface and pat it into a 6-inch round. Cut into 6 wedges and transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper, at least two inches apart. Brush with egg and water mixture and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar.

Bake scones until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Cherry Cream Scones

When we lived in midtown, Steve would sometimes stop by Amy’s Bread Bakery on his way home from work and pick up a couple of cherry cream scones. I don’t want to say that I squealed from joy when he entered the apartment carrying the telltale brown bag, but it was pretty close. We loved (and still do) those cherry cream scones. They looked and tasted rustic. They were sweet but with serious tones of something darker. The dried cherries were just tangy enough to counterbalance the richness of the dough and the coarse sugar toping gave a satisfying crunch with every bite.


Well, just like everything else I love to eat, I decided that I just had to figure out how to make them myself. Many tastings had given me clues to the ingredients but they weren’t enough. I had to get the recipe. A quick search online revealed an Amy’s Bread cookbook that was available on Amazon. But I didn’t want to buy it just for this recipe. So, I clicked on the “Click to look inside” link which shows a few pages from a book, so you can sample it before you buy it.


And wouldn’t you know it, there it was: the recipe for cherry cream scones. Except for one problem: Amazon gave me only the first page. That included the ingredients and some of the steps. I decided I could figure out the rest of the steps on my own. Turns out I couldn’t. My first attempt didn’t turn out so good.


So back to Amazon I went and started clicking on “Surprise Me!” which gives you a random page from the book. A good 15 minutes later I landed on the second page of the recipe. Since then, Amazon has changed the pages they show from this book and now the entire recipe is available to anyone that looks at the book on the site.

I have made these scones too many times to count. I have taken them to friends who invited us to their country house for the weekend and I have made them in the middle of nowhere in France where we were spending New Year’s with a group of friends. Every time, they are a hit. And when we moved away from midtown two years ago and had no Amy’s Bread Bakery nearby, we were ok with that. We knew how to make our own.

Cherry Cream Scones – Slightly adapted from The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread

These aren’t your typical british scones, all round and perfect, dry and crumbly. They are misshapen and soft inside with a crusty exterior. What gives them their unique taste is the use of only cream (no butter) and only brown sugar (no white sugar).

3 1/2 cups (510 gr) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon (20gr) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup (200 gr) light brown sugar
1 1/4 (200 gr) cups dried cherries*
2 2/3 cups (630gr) heavy cream
1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash
turbinado sugar (or other coarse sugar; if not, you can use regular sugar but you won’t get that nice crunch)

* I buy the apple juice infused dried cherries from Whole Foods. Don’t use dried cherries that have any artificial flavoring in them. If you find dried sour cherries, they would be ideal.

Put racks on top third and bottom third of oven and preheat to 400° F. Line two 12×17 or 13×18 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in brown sugar till evenly distributed (use your fingers to break up any clumps of sugar), then add dried cherries and stir again. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour all the cream in the well. Stir carefully with a spatula first and then with your hands until a soft, shaggy, and slightly sticky dough is formed.


Divide dough in 2 pieces. Gently shape each piece into a round disk, about 2 inches thick. It’s ok if the disks aren’t smooth or perfect. Using a knife or dough scraper cut each disk into 6 wedges. Again, don’t worry about the wedges being perfect. As soon as they hit the hot oven, they will start to melt and fall apart anyway (remember, these are rustic scones, not perfect looking ones). Arrange 6 wedges on each pan. Leave space between them because they will spread and rise.


Mix egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl and brush the tops of the scones. Sprinkle the tops of the scones generously with turbinado sugar. Don’t be timid with the sugar. As the scones spread and rise, the sugar will disperse over their surface. You want lots of it to provide a nice crunch.


Place the two pans on each of the two racks and bake for 7 minutes. Rotate top and bottom pans and reduce to 350° F. Bake for another 10 minutes. Rotate pans again, top to bottom, and bake 15-20 min more. They should be dark golden brown and firm to the touch. If you want, you can test with a toothpick, which should come out clean. If they’re browning too quickly, you can turn the oven down to 325 F. Cool on a wire rack.


These scones freeze beautifully. Once completely cool, place them in ziploc bags and put them in the freezer. To have them for breakfast, take out of the freezer the night before and leave uncovered on the countertop overnight.

Makes: 12 scones