Lottie + Doof + Zoe Nathan = Scones!

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I am a Zoe Nathan superfan. She and her husband, Josh Loeb, own a bunch of really rad restaurants (Rustic Canyon Wine Bar, Huckleberry, Milo and Olive, Sweet Rose Creamery) in Santa Monica that I eat at whenever I am in town. Zoe also grew up with a bunch of my dearest friends (hi Tini!) and worked at Tartine with another dear friend who happens to own my favorite bakery in Chicago. It is a small world of wonderful people. I convinced Zoe to stop by L + D to share a recipe and answer the ole L+D food quiz—remember that thing?

I first tasted some of Zoe’s cooking when she was the pastry chef at Rustic Canyon, I was immediately enamored. The lady knows how to end a meal. I was thrilled to learn she was opening a bakery across Wilshire, and completely fell in love with Huckleberry on my first visit. The bakery/cafe seems like the full expression of Zoe’s wonderful vision. It is full of good energy, friendly people, and outrageously beautiful pastries. Her food is exuberant. There is no preciousness in her world— it is wild, rustic, and ambitious. She doesn’t hold back and you will love her for it (I told you I was a superfan!).

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I asked Zoe to share her recipe for Walnut Jam Scones, which is one of my favorite things ever. Ground walnuts and cornmeal add some character to a buttery scone dough, and raspberry preserves round things out. These are perfect, and should be made often. They’d be great for Mother’s Day (spoiler alert, mom!). The nice thing about scones is they are quick to prepare and the unbaked scones can be stored in the freezer and baked as you need them. Win-win. Without further delay, here’s Zoe:

LOTTIE + DOOF FOOD QUIZ with ZOE NATHAN

Sweet or salty?
Both. The best dishes in the world are always sweet and salty, whether it’s a pastry or potato pancakes with apple sauce.

Chocolate or vanilla?
Vanilla, always vanilla. I like chocolate but I love vanilla.

Hot (spicy) or mild?
Spicy. I’m a California girl, I like spicy.

What won’t you eat?
There’s not a lot I won’t eat but I’m embarrassed to say that even though as a person in the industry I’m supposed to like the nasty bits, I don’t.

Most memorable meal?
Recently, a piece of cinnamon sugar toast at The Mill in San Francisco. It was perfect.

Favorite object in your kitchen?
My oven.

What are you scared of in the kitchen?
People finding out that I don’t always know what I am talking about.

Do you prefer to cook alone or with others?
It depends. At work I thrive off of baking/cooking next to a bunch of really amazing people. But at home after I put my son to sleep I love the quietness of cooking dinner for my husband in a quiet kitchen.

Where would you like to travel to for the food?
I’d love to spend some time in the South eating pie and good Southern food.

If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
A giant bowl of strawberries. I like to think of myself as very generous.

What is the best thing about writing a cookbook?
Being able to cook in my home kitchen next to my son and imagining that someone soon could be making my recipes at home. It warms my heart to think of that.

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[Yes, that's right folks, the Huckleberry cookbook will be released in 2014. Never in my life have I been more excited for the publication of a cookbook. For real.]

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Walnut Jam Scones recipe by Zoe Nathan

  • 1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons toasted and ground walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 9 ounces cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons cold buttermilk
  • 1-1 1/4 cup raspberry preserves
  • egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon heavy cream + pinch of salt)
  • additional sugar for topping

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, walnuts, sugar and salt in a very large bowl.  Toss well.

Throw in the cold butter and work it with your fingertips until the pieces are pea and lima bean-sized.

Add buttermilk.  Lightly toss to distribute. Immediately, dump everything out onto a clean surface, allowing more than enough space to work the dough. Using only the heel of your palm quickly flatten out the dough. Gather it back together in a mound and repeat the flattening gesture. After two or three repetitions, the dough should begin holding together.

Be sure to avoid overworking.  You should still see some pea-sized bits of butter.

Form the scones by tightly packing the dough into an ice cream scoop (3oz) or by dividing dough into 12-13 pieces. Place on an ungreased sheet tray (or one lined with parchment, for easier clean-up). Dip a round tablespoon measure in flour, then press it into the center of the scone to form a deep well for the jam.

Freeze for at least 2 hours before baking, or up to 1 month wrapped tightly.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Remove scones from he freezer, space out on 2 ungreased baking sheets with plenty of breathing room, brush outer rim with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with
sugar. Fill indentations with a generous tablespoon of jam.

Bake from frozen, until baked through, nicely browned, and easily lifted off the tray, about 30 minutes.

Best the day they’re made, but they keep, tightly wrapped at room temperature, for up to 2 days.

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Can’t resist including this video profile of Zoe from Thrash Lab, which will charm your socks off:

29 comments to “Lottie + Doof + Zoe Nathan = Scones!”

  1. How do I not know about this woman?! I watched the video and am, indeed, thoroughly charmed. I love her philosophies, and those scones look just my speed. Will be making them soon…and also taking a trip to Santa Monica!

  2. TIM! These are gorgeous. I’m definitely making these for our next lab meeting.

    Gotta love science and baked goods!

  3. I love Huckleberry, huge fan! I also love Walnut jam scones (a new discovery as of yesterday). I had a walnut scone strawberry preserves at Akasha in Culver City and have been craving another all morning only to pop on here and find this! What a successful friday morning.

  4. Mary Anne says:

    May 10th, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I could not agree more with Zoe about the potato pancakes/applesauce combo. Sounds so humble, tastes so divine!

  5. she is lovely! I’m headed to LA at the end of June–this is definitely going on the list of places I need to visit.

  6. Do it, Jenny! I also really love the bakery at Milo & Olive, which is their pizza place.

  7. Franziska says:

    May 10th, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Tim,
    just wondering, as I am allergic to nuts (but can eat almonds), whether I could substitute ground walnuts for ground almonds. I generally swap hazelnuts 1 to 1 with almonds, but have never tried with walnuts.
    Thanks!

  8. Hi Fran- Technically, the recipe will work just fine. It will obviously taste very differently, but I bet it will still be good.

  9. Franziska says:

    May 10th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for the quick reply Tim!
    Since I don’t know what I am missing out on with the walnuts, I will try an almond version and let you know how I went!

  10. Um, yes. Those look/sound incredible! So glad you included the video! She rocks.

  11. I’m a huge fun of Zoe’s restaurants. My parents live two blocks away from Sweet Rose, which is very dangerous and I just ate at Huckleberry two days ago. I’ve loved everything that i’ve ever ordered! Just one more thing, you gotta check out the Thursday Night Dinners at Huckleberry. They are truly a special dining experience and your mouth with thank you for every single bite from the first course to the last!

    Tim, it looks like you have competition for title of superfan! ;)

  12. Mmm looks delightful. Raspberry and walnut is so great together, and thanks for the video : ) I love how she talks about messiness.

    I am intrigued by the technique of these scones…usually I am afraid to freeze unbaked dough though everyone else does!

    Have you ever made Rose Levy Berenbaum’s currant scones? I blogged it recently and was pretty swooned by the feathery layers.

    Also…I made your snap pea/radish/feta salad tonight. Great!

  13. I saw a (tv) segment on Huckleberry…and, if I lived closer I’d likely frequent the place. These are such original/unusual, beautiful scones – I want to bake them right now (if I wasn’t already making strawberry tiramisu)!

  14. What an amazing sounding scone recipe, so original . Wish that Restaurant was near to me!

  15. So inspiring… and so adorable! Love her.

  16. That looks great you guys! Scones can be very zzzzzz… but those look particularly luscious!

  17. Thanks for sharing this recipe and video! I’m totally smitten with her outlook on both baking and life; how brilliant it is to aim to be present in whatever you do. Such a simple yet powerful concept.

  18. Socks, off!! So charming.

  19. Dominique says:

    May 12th, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    My new favourite breakfast! The scones are as delicious as advertised, and fun to make. I had trouble grinding the walnuts in my big processor so I threw the flour in there and tried again, problem solved. It’s really a great recipe, thanks so much!

  20. I love everything about this post — the recipe, the food quiz, and Zoe Nathan! I hope to have achieved some of her happiness at some point in my life.

    Re: her food quiz – I live right by the Mill, and their toast is fantastic! I feel silly saying that, but it is always delightful. They routinely have a special called the “Number 4″, and a few weeks ago it was an apricot sage bread with butter, honey, and sea salt. Perfection.

  21. Oh my LORD those scones look amazing. Excuse me now while I plan all those restaurants you mentioned into my travel schedule…

  22. A thumbprint scone? I’ve never heard of such a thing! These look delish!

  23. I made these 3 times over the last 3 days. First for Teacher Appreciation Day, then for the family because they looked so good the first time, then for us again because they were so good! When is the cookbook coming out? I need it!

  24. This looks so delish on a breakfast table. And I must say Zoe Nathan is lovely. XOXO

  25. I love everything about Huckleberry the food is the best and the people who works there treat you very good, Zoe your place is #1

  26. For the walnut measurement, is it 4.5 tablespoons after they are ground? I just wanted to check in case I have trouble grinding them (like Dominique) and have to use flour.

  27. Bea, yes-after they are ground.

  28. Hey Tim – I’ve loved your blog and made your recipes for years! I just tried these scones–my first scones ever–and the dough was insanely crumbly and never came together. What did I do wrong? They’re freezing now so I’m not sure how they’ll bake out, but I wanted to know for the future what I can do to fix the dough when it isn’t coming together. Do you just add some additional liquid?

  29. Hey Tan- Yeah, I am guessing some measurement was off. Did you fluff and scoop the flour? Yes, in the future adding some more buttermilk would be fine. The dough is pretty crumbly, so I am guessing you just needed to add a little extra buttermilk. Hopefully they bake up okay!

What do you think?