makes 8 scones
2 large ripe freestone peaches, about 8 oz. each, washed, peeled, pitted, and halved*
1 teaspoon fresh lemon or orange juice
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon OR orange zest
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3½ oz. cold, unsalted butter cut into ½” pieces
2 large eggs, room temperature
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* * * * * * * *
egg wash made from 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon whole milk
coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling
Cut the halved peaches into ¼” pieces, place in a medium bowl, toss with lemon or orange juice, and set aside.
In a large bowl, place the all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar, and zest. Whisk to combine. Using a bench scraper or your fingertips, add the butter to the dry mixture, cutting the butter into the flour mixture until it is the consistency of coarse cornmeal with some larger pieces of butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and yogurt until combined. Add the eggs/yogurt to the flour/butter mixture, tossing together gently with a fork, until you have formed a soft dough with a bit of the dry ingredients not completely incorporated. The idea is not to over mix the dough.
Sprinkle your clean countertop/work surface with all-purpose flour. Turn the dough out onto the counter and gently work it into a rectangle, about 15” long x 8” wide, incorporating the stray bits of dry flour from the mixing bowl. Use a bench scraper or an offset spatula to mark the dough into thirds. (If the peaches are very juicy, drain them first.) Place half of the peaches down the middle third of the dough. Fold the left third of the dough over the top of the peaches, covering them. Place the remaining peaches onto the flap of dough you used to cover the first layer. Take the right third of dough and cover the peaches.
(The “parcel” of scone dough alternates: dough/peaches/dough/peaches/dough.)
Use a bench scraper to divide/cut the “parcel” into 8 equal rectangles. Place the scones on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving some room between them. Brush the top of each scone with a little bit of egg wash, then sprinkle each scone with sanding sugar. Place the tray of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking. This helps them hold their shape in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the frozen scones on the middle rack of the hot oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through baking, until the scones are deeply golden brown. (Check the interior of one of the scones with a small paring knife to make sure the center of the scones are baked through; if not give them another few minutes.) Serve warm.
* If the peaches are not particularly ripe or flavorful, you can roast them first. Place the diced peaches on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree F oven for about 15 minutes, turning them halfway through roasting, until they soften and just start to caramelize. Make sure to cool them completely before layering them between the scone dough.