The Hopi people have lived and farmed in northeastern Arizona since the 12th century. They have developed a unique method of growing food in a harsh environment called dry farming. They grow a wide variety of corn, squash, beans, melons and other plants.
In spring the Blue Corn Maiden brings the blue corn to the Hopi people. She is early awaited by the Hopi people, for half of the year they don't have any corn.
Hopi blue corn is different from other corn in that it contains up to 30 percent more protein. It also contains iron, magnesium, potassium and other minerals. Hopi women would make a culinary ash that would increase the mineral content of their Piki bread and give it a more vibrant blue color.
In the Third Mesa region of the Hopi Reservation, Mille Polewytwa grows Hopi blue corn. Her family has grown corn for generations. When the corn is ready, it is dried and some is ground into cornmeal. Some is sent to Native Seeds/SEARCH to sell to customers. Each package of Hopi Blue Cornmeal comes with a recipe sheet with choices such as Blue Corn Spoon Bread or Hopi Blue Corn Omelette.
I found a wonderful recipe for Blue Corn Scones on the website of the The Cooking Post. It is a tribal enterprise of the Santa Ana Pueblo located in New Mexico. They carry a variety of foods, gifts, coffee, and tea that they produce and from other tribal groups. The Santa Ana grow a different variety of blue corn called Tamaya Blue. This type of corn is used in all their blue corn products from pancake mix to parched corn. They also have a selection of traditional and modern Native American recipes to try out.
Starting with the recipe I found at The Cooking Post titled "Jerry's Own World Famous, True Triumph of the Culinary Art, Blue Corn Scones," I started to work on a gluten free recipe. Jerry added vanilla extract to his recipe, a unique touch that I wanted to include in my version. Then I added my own touches to the recipe and it was time to start baking.
The first time I made this recipe the scones turned out beautifully, but they didn't rise very much. Jerry's recipe called for 1/3 tsp of baking powder and I had raised it to 1/2 teaspoon, but it still wasn't enough. All these gluten free flours needed more lifting power, so I went back to work on exactly how much baking powder was needed. I raised the amount of baking powder to 2 teaspoons and it was perfect.
3/4 cup Hopi blue cornmeal
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1 tsp flax meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 stick butter, chilled
2 Tb agave syrup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp kudzu powder, dissolved in the milk
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a cookie pan with parchment paper.
2. In a medium sized bowl, pour in the flours, baking powder, and salt. Then stir.
3. Add the chilled butter. Using a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it forms a coarse meal.
4. In a medium sized bowl, pour in the milk and dissolved kudzu, agave syrup, egg and vanilla extract. Stir together.
5. Add the liquid mixture to the coarse meal mixture and work together until it holds together.
6. Place dough on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Press and pat the dough into a circle. Score the top of the dough into eight pieces with a knife, taking care not to go all the way through the dough.
7. Bake at 375 deg F for 23 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.
8. Allow to cool before serving with Prickly Pear Butter.
Prickly Pear Butter Recipe
1 stick butter, softened
2 Tb Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup*
1. Cream the butter and add the Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup. Cream together. Serve with Blue Corn Scones.
How did they turn out? My husband and I thought they were wonderful. The prickly pear butter added a unique fruity taste to the scones. On it's own the flavor of the prickly pear butter was divine. We really enjoyed the taste of the prickly pear. My daughter thought the scones tasted pretty good, but she didn't like the prickly pear butter. My son thought the scones were okay, but the butter wasn't so good. My husband and I think this recipe is a keeper.
* I used Cheri's Desert Harvest Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup. I purchased my syrup from Native Seeds/SEARCH.