Pastries are perfection at Matt and Dom’s
SUN PHOTO/LISA MORROW
The season doesn’t need to dictate menus. Chefs can concoct fresh berry tarts in midwinter and boozy bread puddings in summer, provided they are competently made. However, most people tend to think of springtime as the ultimate season for fresh fruit and find a way to add fruit to just about every meal. Why not blueberry scones for breakfast – or peach scones, nectarine scones, strawberry scones? But back to blueberry scones. Not only do they look beautiful, the purple berries suspended in puffs of white clouds, but I find a good deal of logic in this. It is spring, of course, that produces a cornucopia of juicy fruits and scores of fresh berries - all of them of optimum, sun-filled goodness. What could be better than scones – a sweet biscuit, which in the American sense means crumbly, baking powder-leavened bread, blueberries, melting mounds of sweet, fresh butter and lumpy berry preserves?
I agree. When I visit a new restaurant for breakfast, I’ll check the pastries before I even glance at the list of main courses. And I’m usually disenchanted. Why are pastries an afterthought? Menus offer either an onslaught of tooth-achingly sweet pancake concoctions or French toast from yesterday, or both. Omelets, oatmeal, fried eggs. I may as well stay home with a bowl of cereal. But that is what makes Matt and Dom’s Pastry Café’s collection of sweets so spectacular. Entering their forth month officially open, Chef Matt Schole, former pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton Beach Club, commands the kitchen while his brother, Dom, welcomes customers and keeps the cappuccino machine hissing. Located at the corner of Gulf Drive and Palmetto Avenue, it really is about the pastries. There are over two-dozen homemade sweets every day. Nearly every pastry - homemade raspberry puff pastry, lemon mousse, apple-cinnamon and whole wheat-honey muffins, apricot turnovers, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, peanut butter cookies, key lime pies, lemon meringue pies, double chocolate ganache tart, banana strudel and Bavarian cream éclairs – has its partisans. Pastries are flaky. Custards are creamy. Chocolate is sophisticated. Fruit is as ripe as can be. Still, there is a runaway winner, at least to my palate: blueberry scones. I’ll eat one and say I can’t eat another bite. And then, of course, I will.
Pastries are a relatively affordable obsession. A magnificent bottle of wine can cost a thousand, even a dinner out at a top restaurant can add up in the hundreds. But the most luscious pastry and a good cappuccino costs somewhere between $5 and $10. The truth is: there really are times when only something sweet will do. As the hearty fruits of winter segue to chubby spheres of blueberries for spring, Chef Matt gives us a recipe that sticks with the basics. The scones look so fancy, but they are a breeze to make!
Matt & Dom’s Pastry Café
Matt’s Blueberry Scones
Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush tops with egg wash and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until scones are golden brown on top and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Serve warm with lots of butter!