Ham, Cheese and Leek Scones
I love leeks. I love garlic. I love onions. All alliums are sacred to me because they create so much beautiful flavour when used properly. Sure, they are capable of leaving you with a bit of smelly breath, but isn't it work it? Besides, if you're eating them with you partner or friend, neither of you will really notice. Leeks are my favourite, especially when slowly cooked down into a silky creamy consistency so they become sweet and nuanced.
- 2 leeks
- 25g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt (e.g. Maldon)
- a good grind of black pepper
- 200g parmesan, grated
- 450g plain flour, plus more for the work surface
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 100g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 500g plain yoghurt
- 200g your favourite ham (Parma, Serrano, Bayonne or Yorkshire), cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with a little milk or water, for the egg wash
Trim the roots and the tough green stalks and outer layer from the leeks. Cut the leeks in half lengthways and run under cool water to rinse, peeling back the layers to get inside where the grit is lodged. Slice the leeks crossways into 4mm slices and drop into a bowl of cold water for about 10 minutes. All the dirt will fall to the bottom. Scoop the leeks out (rather than pouring them out with the water) and place into a colander to drain. Pat dry.
In a heavy-bottomed frying pan over a medium-low heat, heat the 25g of butter and the oil until the butter starts to foam. Add the leeks, flaky sea salt and black pepper and saute for about 10-15 minutes until soft but without colour. When they are cooked, tip them into a bowl and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes (this can be done the day before).
Line a baking tray or other container that can fit into your fridge with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, weigh out the parmesan, flour and baking powder, and stir. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or the back of a fork (or use a mixer) until crumbly. Add the yoghurt, ham, fine sea salt and cooled leeks. Mix quickly to combine and then pat into a cube and place on a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a thick log and cut out triangles from the log - you will have about 12. Place the scones on the lined baking tray or other container and put in the fridge to chill until set, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C/160 °C (fan)/gas 4. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper, place the chilled scones on it and brush the scones with the egg wash.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Serve right away. You can also make the scones and freeze them, then bake as and when you need them. They keep well for a month in the freezer.