We may sound like a broken record, but like: it’s the holidays. You’re busy. You need things that can help—things that you can make in advance, things that will feed a crowd, things that… things! You need things.
When we called Jen Yee, a pastry chef at Lafayette Grand Café and Bakery in New York City, she was cleaning bits of dough from her kitchen equipment. So we let her do that. Then we talked about said dough. “You could make a basic scone or a biscuit dough and then turn it into whatever you want.” Amen, Jen. Amen. Here are some of her ideas:
Savory Onion Tart
Roll the dough into an 8-inch square, no more than 1/2-inch thick. Poke holes all over it with a fork and then bake for 15 minutes in a 400-degree oven. Remove, top with goat cheese and caramelized onions, brushing the edges of the tart with melted butter. Put it back into the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese browns (you could also do this under the broiler). Finish off the savory tart with fresh thyme.
Use dough as a topping for stewed fruits. Take any seasonal fruit—pears and quince are good right now—and bake them with a little vanilla sugar and butter in a 350-degree oven until they soften, about 20 minutes. Then top with 1/2-inch thick pieces of scone dough. (You can cut the dough into shapes and allow the fruit to peek through.) I like to brush the scones with cream and sprinkle then with Turbinado sugar, then bake the whole thing at around 400 degrees for 20 more minutes.
There are also a lot of great store-bought sweet condiments out there, so instead of doing vanilla sugar and butter, you could toss peeled, quartered pears in [storebought] caramel sauce, bake them for 20 minutes, and then put the scone dough on top and bake for another 20 minutes.
This goes for savory stewed things; you could make a topping for chicken pot pie or lamb stew this way.
Ice Cream Sandwich
Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut into rounds. Brush with milk and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar, then bake them off in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool, slice in half crosswise, then sandwich some ice cream in between the two disks.
You could do the same thing for an egg sandwich: just skip the sugar and instead of the ice cream, insert a fried egg and some sautéed spinach or cheddar cheese or bacon, or….
Oh, heck, just slice the scone in half crosswise and throw whatever you want in there.
Cut the scone dough into small pieces and dip each piece in melted butter and cinnamon-sugar. Place each piece side-by-side in a glass baking dish that has “sticky bun-type goo" on the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes, flip it over onto your cutting board, and you have morning sticky buns, basically.
Roll the dough into a rectangle shape and bake it at 400 degrees until it’s cooked through. Let cool. Slice into 1/4-inch-thick slices, brush each with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then put them back into the oven at 300 degrees until they dry out. Let cool on a rack and use them as crackers or crostini.
Jen Yee’s Basic Scones
8 cups flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1” cubes
2 1/2 cups cold milk
Combine the flour, salt, soda, and cream of tartar in a large bowl. Add the cold butter, and by hand, pinch and rub the butter into the flour until you have thin flakes of butter throughout the dry mixture. Make a well in the center, and add milk. Starting from the center out, bring the dry into the wet and mix and fold the mass until a rough dough is formed. At this point, you can divide the dough into four equal portions and shape into disks or squares. Wrap each parcel (that you won’t be using right away) twice in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to a month.
The night before you’d like to use your frozen scone dough, move it to the fridge to defrost. Remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes before rolling out.