My brother in law and I have kind of a love hate relationship, we love to hate each other. Poking the bear is one of my all time favorite activities, and if you know him, you know he bears a certain likeness to a bear. Years ago at a Thanksgiving dinner, he casually mentioned that he enjoys ham over turkey. So now every year our mother in law caters to him and there is always a holiday ham with his name on it, snuggled up next to the poultry. Since giving him shit is what I do best, the ham thing has become a long standing joke and every Christmas I send him a holiday ham. He acts all bent out of shape over the ham joke but really the jokes on me because damn does he love him some ham.
This year we happened to be visiting Portland on his birthday and being the ham that I am, I skipped the cakes and cookies and went straight up savory for his birthday treat. Since we are staying in an airbnb with very limited kitchen tools, I needed a recipe that requires minimal tools; a bowl, a fork and hands.
Scones are simple to make and when you add pork, they are just about as Portlandy as a pastry can get. I scraped together a mouthwatering new recipe for handmade Smoked Cheddar Pancetta Scones just for my savory brother in law and you bet your bacon it’s delicious. While it’s not quite ham, pancetta is part of the ham fam and basically the equivilent to Italian bacon so it played the pig part in the Smoked Cheddar Pancetta Scones quite well. The Tillamook Cheese smoked cheddar makes things extra savory and seems just right for the bearded bear type of man. A hefty punch of freshly ground black pepper spices things up and fresh, herby chives add a grassy freshness to the buttery biscuit flavor.
When I presented the Smoked Cheddar Pancetta Scones to my BIL at his whiskey tasting birthday party, he asked if there was ham in the scones, hugged me and said “F*ck You, Becky”. This was just the reaction I had hoped for when I came up with this recipe. He loves ham but mostly he loves to hate me and I love that.
- pancetta - 1 cup (diced)
- all purpose flour - 2 1/2 cups
- butter - 1/2 cup, cold and cubed
- smoked cheddar cheese - 1 cup, grated
- cream or buttermilk - 1/2 cup
- eggs - 2 large
- baking powder - 1 tablespoon
- salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- chives - 1/4 cup finely chopped
- black pepper - 1 teaspoon
- In a frying pan, fry the pancetta cubes over medium high heat until they are fried and crispy. Set aside to cool.
- Measure the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper into a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Dice the butter into 1/4" -1/2" cubes. Use your hands, a pastry cutter or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer on low speed to blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces of butter are the size of almonds.
- Add the cooled pancetta cubes, grated smoked cheddar cheese and chopped chives to the mix. Blend until evenly distributed.
- Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together. Add two-thirds of the mixture to the dry ingredients. Gently mix the dough just until it comes together, then add the remaining buttermilk mixture, the dough should look scrappy and rough at this point.
- Scrape the dough from the bottom and sides of the bowl to incorporate floury scraps. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface, it should come out as mostly one big chunk with some scrappy bits.
- Gather the dough ball and bits and pat until it just comes together. The top should be chunky and rough, this ensures the crunchy crumbly character of the finished scones. Gently form the dough into two 3"-5" disks for smaller scones, or one 7"-8" disk for larger scones.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Cut the disk(s) into 6 wedges and spread out evenly on baking sheets. Now chill the scones on the baking sheets in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes while the oven preheats, this will help the scones hold their structure and prevent them from falling and spreading too much in the oven.
- Bake the small scones for 20-25 minutes or large scones for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time.
- The scones should come out a golden brown with bubbly melty cheese bits and some deep golden browns on the edges, giving that crumbly crunch to the exterior.
- Place the baked scones on a cooling rack to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve alone or with a rich, silky egg for a full breakfast.
- This recipe makes either 12 small scones or 6 large scones.