Ah, the Curse of the Potluck and its familiar dilemmas that grip and nag — what to bring, what to bring?
Something sweet, something savory? Something indulgent that will please everyone who doesn’t know how much butter went into it, or something healthful so your friends will live longer with a healthy heart and glowing skin?
An old favorite that won’t let you down but won’t electrify anyone either, or a new recipe that has great potential but involves a non-negligible risk of failure, mortification, and the glare of disgrace cast upon your offspring for seven generations?
Add to the equation the need for something that will require neither silverware nor last-minute prep and that will travel well in the basket of your vélib during the cross-city ride, and you’ve got yourself one big-mama quandary.
And yet, in the murk, the gleam of an idea that would tie all those loose strings together: bite-size scones, flavored with aged Parmesan, carrots, and home-grown rosemary.
Savory yet so caressing in texture as to be almost sweet, indulgent but not damnably so (hey, there’s carrots in there!), they would be built as a riff on this time-honored recipe. Safely wrapped in foil, they would be transported to their final destination, where they would be stacked on a serving plate I would also bring, so my friend the hostess wouldn’t need to rummage for one and I would earn brownie points (she makes really good brownies) for being so provident.
Everything went as planned: I did not burn the scones, I managed to fend off hungry fingers for most of the afternoon (a few specimens had to be sacrificed to appease the gods of the 5 o’clock munchies), and the scones soon found a comfortable spot in which to settle, cozying up to the marvels produced by the other contributing cooks.
The one thing that did not go as planned had nothing to do with the potluck party, or my scones. It stings nonetheless.
Speaking of which — have you noticed the little French flag floating around in the upper right-hand corner of this page, and at the bottom of some entries? It links to the brand-new French version of C&Z, where I will, from here on in, publish a translation of the recipes with an abridged intro.
- 150 grams (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
- 120 grams (1 cup) chickpea flour (substitute another kind of interesting nutty flour, such as chestnut or buckwheat, or just use all-purpose flour, 270 grams or 2 1/4 cups of it)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fleur de sel (substitute kosher salt)
- 120 grams (9 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, diced
- 230 grams (1 1/2 cups) coarsely grated carrots, about 1 1/2 medium
- 100 grams (1 cup) coarsely grated aged Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced, or pressed
- 2 tablespoons strong Dijon mustard
- 100 mL (7 tablespoons) light (15%) whipping cream, plus a little more as needed
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers or a wire pastry blender, until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add the grated carrots, cheese, rosemary, and garlic, and blend with a fork. (This can also be done in a food processor.)
- Add the mustard and cream and mix them in gently with the fork just until the dough comes together -- add a tad more cream if the dough is too dry.
- Turn the dough out on a floured work surface or a silicon mat, and gather into a ball without kneading. (This can be prepared up to a day ahead; cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to rumble.)
- Roll the dough out into a rough rectangle, about 2-cm-thick (3/4-inch). If the dough is on the wet 'n sticky side, it helps to cover it with a sheet of parchment paper and roll the pin over the paper rather directly on the dough.
- Cut the dough into 3-cm (1 1/4-inch) squares and transfer onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about a little space between each.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until puffy and golden, rotating the baking sheet halfway through.
- Let cool on a rack for a few minutes and serve, warm or at room temperature, on its own as an appetizer, with a salad, or as part of a brunch.
The scones will keep for a few days at room temperature, wrapped tightly in foil.
This post was first published in October 2007 and updated in July 2016.