ramps across the pond: wild garlic and cheese scones

Ramps are wild leeks. Bärlauch is wild garlic. But are wild leeks Bärlauch? This is where I get confused. It is like the whole sweet potato versus yam distinction all over again, but now in two different languages and on two different continents. 

From afar, a patch of wild garlic blanketing the ground looks nearly identical to a patch of wild leeks. Both have a fragrant smell and, to the enthusiastic forager, bring the same exciting gift that is free! wild! organic! food! The leaves are nearly identical. However, the ramson of North America is Allium tricoccum and the ramson of Europe is Allium ursinum, two different species. In North America ramps have stems that are a mix of purple and pink. They have a small bulb that is also edible. In Europe ramps have white stems and a much smaller bulb. 

Allium ursinum, the European variety, translates as bear's garlic which is one of the translations that came up when I was first trying to figure out the relationship between Bärlauch and wild leeks. I find this quite charming. We've all heard of bears loving honey and now I like to imagine them pawing up some wild fish and eating said fish with both honey and wild garlic. An elegant wild meal, indeed. 

As if the smell alone wasn't enough incentive to start picking bunch after bunch of wild garlic, it has a delicate white flower. You can forage for food and for table decor all with one plant.  

I don't ever recall eating ramps in Canada. I might have left before they became standard farmers' market fare, but in Germany Bärlauch is well loved. It is a spring classic and wild garlic pesto is a typical way to eat it. 

Now that I think that I've finally conquered the formerly confusing relationship between wild garlic and wild leeks, I can tell you about wild garlic scones. These scones are so good that I would actually be confused if I found any left-over. I made a batch last week and they were gone, completely gone, crumbs included, within 24 hours. Actually, it was probably closer to 12 hours and we are only 2. We have no pets, no dog to gobble up the crumbs. Instead, it was us gobbling up the crumbs after we ate all of the scones.  

Since I live in Germany I used wild garlic, but I suspect that wild leeks would also work just fine. I used a combination of parmesa and aged cheddar. The two were quite happy to share the same stage, but feel free to use on or the other or a different combination of hard cheese. 

Lastly, if you're anything like me, you might want to consider doubling the recipe. Or, just don't let anyone know that you've been baking. Seriously. Try at least one first to make sure that you are willing to share. 

Wild Garlic and Cheese Scones 

adapted from Delicious Days

makes 8 scones

200 g flour (I used light spelt)
15 g wild garlic, chopped
10 g parmesan, finely grated
15 g aged cheddar, finely grated
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
60 g butter, cold
135 g full-fat milk

for brushing

1 tbsp milk
3 tbsp grated cheddar 

Preheat oven to 425 F / 220 C / gas mark 7. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, chopped garlic and grated parmesan and cheddar. Cut the cold butter into small chunks and add it to the bowl. With a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the dough until the pieces of butter are no larger than a small pea. Stir in the milk and mix until combined and you no longer see pockets of flour. 

Alternatively, you can do the above in a food processor. 

Sprinkle a large cutting board or a clean counter top  generously with flour. Dump out the dough and knead shortly. Do not over-knead or else you'll end up with tough scones. However, give the dough a few good kneads so that you're able to shape it.

Shape the dough into a circle that is about 3 cm (1.25 inches) thick. Cut the circle in half and then in quarter and then in eights so that you have eight scones. Place the scones on the baking sheet lined with baking paper, leaving space in between. Brush each scone with milk and then sprinkle cheese on top.

Place the baking sheet in the middle of your oven and bake the scones until they are nicely browned, about 12-14 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute or two and then transfer to a wire rack.

 Serve warm or at room temperature.


Shirin –   – (May 14, 2013 at 10:18 PM)  

Woah. These look insane.

HomemadeMother  – (May 21, 2013 at 3:39 AM)  

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I love savory treats like this.

I also make a ramp pesto - super potent, but totally delicious.

karla from color & spice  – (May 26, 2013 at 3:59 AM)  

just found your blog -- these look so good!

Sasha  – (May 28, 2013 at 10:29 PM)  

I hope you both make them! And they taste even better than they look.

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