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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011 Irish Fair's Winning Scone Recipe

When you are a wholesale baker by trade, inevitably you end up attending a ton of events.

For the last 5 years I would say that w/o a doubt, my favorite of these has been the Irish Fair which is held down on Harriet Island.

You have to love the fact that the events promoters have bypassed a gate fee. By doing so, each one of us has a couple extra shekels to buy that one last mug of Guinness or Harp.

I'll was serving several accounts, so I typically get to the island just about the time the cock crows. After dumping off my wares, I'll have a couple hours to spare before the Irish Soda Bread / Scone contest takes place.

I've been a judge on their panel for years, and in was brought to my attention that Dick Trotter (Trotters Cafe) had a scheduling conflift, so Klecko was going to be the judge with tenure for the first time.

The event site has the Mississippi River forming a natural boundary on its west side. This served as an ample backdrop while I while guzzling espresso and becoming mentally prepared for what was ahead.

I stopped to marvel at the spectacular paddleboats which had to be painted by an ex circus employee. Their red railings and porthole shudders practically "POPPED" off the side of the VESSEL.


Yeah, just like the last 4 previous Saturdays of Irish Fair, God had decided to either send a plague of wetness, or who knows? Maybe clean up the joint by hosing the venue down with sugar cube sized rain drops.

Klecko doesn't care though, he's been wet before, so now he turns 180 degrees and begins watching some of the early purvayors and volunteers cross the spacious fields, all of which are dotted with monolitic tents.

So now I'm starting to see a bunch of guys congregating along the sidewalk, and most of them are wearing kilts.

Remember, I'm alone, it's early and I have nobody to talk to, so my mind started to drift a bit.

Immediately I flashback to the day I was walking to elementry school and a kid named Brooks crossed my path and was wearing a kilt.

I slugged him in the head for this. I've blogged about this before, and surely will again, because anytime I see kilts, I think of his dad the preacher, flying home, carrying his son a present, and when the child is elated....Klecko punches him im the head.

That was 40 years ago, and I am still scarred.

Tick Tock goes the clock, and through the Magic of blog timing, we are now at the soda bread / scone contest.

The other judges are chef Eric from Longfellow Grill, and a Tea Room lady who has lived across the U.K.

Eric judged with me last year, and I really liked working with him. he is a lot of fun and not afraid to make decisions. However, he is a chef by trade and not a baker, so eventhough the competition is only for pride...and Blue Ribbons. I started to actually feel a little pressure begin to mount.

There was around 50 entries, and most of these people made special efforts to wake up very early so their submitted entries would still be warm.

I have to believe that each contestant secretly hoped that their recipe would win the grand prize.

If it were me, I'd have practiced my victory speech while throwing my dry ingredients into the mixing bowl.

3-2-1.......the contest starts, the administrator brings the first entry and sets it down in front of me.

A lot of times when your entry gets viewed or tasted can have a huge bearing on your final outcome.

If your scone is first, and it is epic, its hard to know how great it is because you have nothing else to compare it to, and in most cases, it won't receive the marks it merits.

If your scone is last, you are really screwed. How can you expect to impress the judges when their palates are fried, their stomachs are full, and their nerves are tweaking from a preexisting sugar buzz?

So now I can smell cheese slowly floating like drunken ghosts into my nostrils.

O-M-G, it smelt great.

I cut sample pieces for my colleagues, but shoved a slice into my mouth before they did.

Within moments I knew we had trouble. I knew myself, and my preference enough to be certain that none of the other 49 baked goods would come close to this.

I shared this info with the other judges and told them that I wasn't handing out high marks lightly. I thought this savory scone was tops.

After a couple hours of sampling all these labors of love, the chief administrator tallied the scores and sure enough, the first entry won.

At this point, I had about 7 minutes to get over to "THE TABLE OF KNOWLEDGE" where I was going to talk about Celtic bread history, so I'm hurrying.....and the winner interrupted my course by asking me to pose in a photo with her.

What a honor.

The womans name is Patty McCann and she rambled on server times how she simply couldn't believe that she won.

this isn't all that uncommon in contests. The people who enjoy their victories the most, are the people who don't feel entitled to them.

Patty told me that she was feeling a little uncertain as to whether or not she should even enter the contest, but now she was thilled that she did.

The recipe was a savory one that used Dubliner cheese. Working with Dubliner can be like walking the razors edge. If you go light, you won't pick up the flavor and the taste bakes out, but if you go heavy, well your piece ends up tossing off a pungent odor.

The window between these to camps is slight. I've always found it hard to balance this cheese, but Patty nailed it spot on.

I loved this recipe so much, I actually asked her if she would send it to me, so I could make it at home.

Anybody who know Klecko knows this is not him doing a very good imitation of himself, he typically doesn't like to ask for recipes.

After sending it via E-Mail, I asked her if I could share it with you guys and she enthusiastically agreed.

Congrat's one last time McCann and on behalf of the L.A.B. viewership, thanks for sharing.


3 cups cake flour
1 t. soda
wee bit salt
wee bit sugar
1/3rd cup of grated Kerrygold butter
1 - 1 1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
grated Dubliner 3 ounces
fresh rosemary, sage & thyme
425 about 5 minutes, then drop to 375 until done.



  1. Dear Klecko, You make me feel so honored, and such praise coming from the Master Baker Klecko. WOW!! Truly, I was so amazed and it was thrilling to be part of a group of fabulous bakers. It was such pleasure to meet you and to hear your Celtic Bread Talk. One thing though, she rambled??? Haha...I do hear the same comment from my sweet sons!! God Bless. Patty

  2. McCann, it was a delight, who knows......maybe we can bake your recipe together sometime. I sure enjoyed them. Stay happy and keep feeding those sons.