This was a really easy Saturday morning side to sausage and scrambled eggs. If you have time, try it. I particularly enjoyed this scone because of the feta and sweet basil combination. Some said it was a bit bland although it seemed perfect to me so I have added the option as suggested to add olives for a bit more flavor. This is a dense scone and quite filling so it is best shared with 7 others and eaten the same day, warm out of the oven. Enjoy!
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 large egg, beaten
1 3/4 cup buttermilk, cold
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted red peppers
heaping 1/2 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup green olives (optional)
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a large (9 or 10-inch) cast iron skillet with either olive oil and set aside. Alternately you can use a greased round cake pan if your don’t have a cast iron skillet.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add the cold butter and, using your fingers, quickly break the butter down into the dry ingredients. Some bits of butter will be the size of small peas, others the size of oat flakes.
In a small bowl, beat together egg and buttermilk.
Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon, working to moisten every bit of flour with the buttermilk mixture. Before the mixture is entirely incorporated, add red pepper, feta cheese, and basil. Dump mixture out onto a clean work surface and gently knead together. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. The dough should be moist but still shaggy. Gather into a 1 1/2-inch thick about 8-inch round. The dough will be shaggy, that’s better than over-kneading the dough.
Transfer dough to prepared pan. Use a serrated knife to mark an inch deep X into the dough. Brush generously with buttermilk and top with cracked black peppercorns. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden color and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If you’re using a regular cake pan instead of cast iron, check the scones after 30 minutes.
Let bread rest in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Serve warm.