You guys. Things are just out of control INSANE around here these days.
I know I haven’t been around much lately, and I feel awful. What do you say we catch up a bit over scones and jam?
You know that old saying, “When it rains, it pours?”
Well right now, it’s a torrential downpour. A deluge. An epic, non-stop thunderstorm of awesome.
So a few months ago, with the end of culinary school on the horizon, I secretly applied to grad school. I didn’t tell anyone, except Ryan and my BFF. Not even my parents. Why the secrecy? Honestly, I really, truly did not believe I would ever get in.
During my senior year of college, my boyfriend of four years and I broke up, and I kind of went off the deep end. Not the sad deep end, because I was the one that broke it off. Instead, I did the really mature thing and went downtown every night, living it up, partying like a total lunatic. Basically, I completely blew off my studies and pretty much stopped caring about school. Smart, right?
Anyhow. by the time I graduated, I’d done a real number on my GPA. It wasn’t pretty. I figured my chances of ever getting into grad school were slim to none, so I wrote off the idea of getting a Master’s degree. Kind of heartbreaking. Some little girls daydream about pink houses and being a princess. Little me dreamed of higher education and eventually getting a PhD. Oh, and dinosaurs. I was kind of a dinosaur fanatic growing up.
Fast-forward a few years: I’m married to a super-amazing boy, I’m studying baking and pastry in culinary school, where I’ve maintained a 4.0 GPA since day one, and I have a lovely little food blog that I adore to pieces. I got my life together! Yeah!
Even though I had finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life, the thought of grad school still lingered in the back of my mind. I knew I wanted to continue studying and learning about food, but I still thought I’d never get in anywhere because of my awful undergraduate GPA, haunting me like a spooky ghost.
I stopped being afraid, wrote a killer letter of intent and applied to grad school. I figured that applying and not getting in would be much better than staying afraid, never applying and always wondering.
Guess what, nerds? I GOT IN!
I’ve been accepted to Boston University’s Gastronomy graduate program, arguably the best program of its kind in the entire country. Whoa.
I’m still completely, utterly wholly shocked. It’s really happening! I start in September, and I plan on focusing my studies on food writing, communication, culture and history. Eep!
Oh, did I forget to mention that we are moving to Boston next Thursday?
I’ve been alternating between freaking out with excitement over grad school and stressing out completely, trying to find an internship so I can graduate from culinary school. It’s been intense.
But remember when I said that one good thing has snowballed into about 23,598 other amazing things?
My last day of classes for culinary school is on May 16, and I’ve accepted a job as a pastry cook/baker in an adorable cafe in Harvard Square! I landed a full-time job that will count towards my internship for school in Boston! So many good things!
Ryan found us an adorable, albeit teeny-tiny studio apartment in a beautiful brownstone building a few blocks from Fenway Park, and we’ve been busy packing, selling all our things and getting ready to hop in the car on Thursday to move 1,300 miles away.
Did I forget to mention that all of these amazing things, all of this crazy life-changing stuff has transpired in the last three weeks?
So I hope you’ll forgive my absence around these parts, but now you know why I’ve been MIA for a while. I promise I’ll be back to posting regularly once we’ve settled into our new apartment in Boston, but for the next couple of weeks posting is going to be pretty intermittent, so don’t hate me, okay?
In the meantime, I suggest you whip up a batch of these sweet cream scones and a bit of strawberry rhubarb jam. The scones come together in no time flat, and they’re so lovely and tender and perfect. You’ll be smitten and struck by their simplicity; how a few measly ingredients can work together in such harmony to bake up a wondrous, tender-crumbed delivery system for sweet-tart jam baffles me completely.
And the jam? Oh, this jam. It’s the absolute essence of springtime. Plump strawberries and bright pink rhubarb cook together with a bit of lemon and vanilla to enhance their bright flavors. A quick spin in the food processor or blender yields a smooth scarlet jam that glides beautifully across scones, toast or any bread it meets. Truth be told, this jam is a lot like my life right now: pretty damn perfect.
Sweet Cream Scones with Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Yield: 24 small scones, 2 pints jam
For the Cream Scones
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons natural cane sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled
For the Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
3 cups fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
the zest of one lemon
the juice of one lemon
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (substitute 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
1/2-3/4 cup natural cane sugar (depends on how sweet you like your jam!)
2 tablespoons framboise (optional)
For the Sweet Cream Scones
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, with a rack in the center of the oven.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, kosher salt and sugar into a medium bowl. Form a small well in the center of the dry ingredients.
Pour the cream into the center of the well and using your hands, fold the flour mixture into the cream until mostly incorporated. You might want to use a glove!
Turn the rough dough onto a well-floured surface and knead briefly just until the dough comes together.
Using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/2" thickness.
Using a small floured cookie cutter (I used a fluted 2" round cutter), cut the scones out of the dough and carefully transfer them to the prepared cookie sheet, leaving about 1" between each scone.
Using a pastry brush, brush the excess flour from the top of the scones and brush with melted butter.
Bake the scones at 425 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on the outside.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow to cool on the sheet for 2-3 minutes before serving.
Serve the scones warm with soft butter and jam.
The scones will keep for up to three days, stored at room temperature in an airtight container.
For the Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Combine all the ingredients in a medium non-reactive saucepan and place over medium-high heat.
Stirring often, allow the mixture to come to a boil and turn down to low.
Allow the jam to cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the fruit is tender and broken down.
After the fruit has cooked, remove the vanilla bean and carefully pour the warm jam into the bowl of a food processor or blender. You can also use an immersion blender, if you happen to have one.
Pulse the jam until smooth and pureed, about 30 seconds or so.
Transfer the jam to sterilized glass jars and allow to come to room temperature before sealing and transferring to the fridge.
The jam will keep, stored in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to two months. If you'd like the jam to be shelf-stable, you can heat process the cans and your jam will keep for up to a year.
cream scone recipe adapted from James Beard