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!).
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?
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.
[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.]
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.
Can’t resist including this video profile of Zoe from Thrash Lab , which will charm your socks off: