Thursday, January 27, 2011

Real Scones!

It was our turn to bring treats to the local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, and someone in our group decided she had had enough egg bakes (me, too!) and suggested we pick a theme and bring items that were a little different. We decided to do an English tea. This was right up my alley, as you can see here.

I used my amazing scone recipe for REAL English - style scones. You know the ones, withOUT the glaze, the frosting and all the sugar. They're still sweet, especially when you add a little jam or lemon curd. You can add fruit, too, which adds some sweetness, or actual sanding sugar, which I did with the lemon scones.

How do I know what "real" English scones taste like, you say? My mother's obsession with "teas" and all things related has rubbed off on me. Plus I've been to England. Unfortunately, I cannot remember ever eating a scone in England, although I'm sure I had plenty. I was a teenager, I had other things on my mind. My main memory of England as a teenager was setting my hair on fire during lunch at a pub. Skater hairstyle + burning candle on table = hair on fire. Talk about embarrassing! My family still teases me to this day.

Moving on...

Here's the recipe for Classic Scones, adapted from "Joy of Cooking: All about Breakfast and Brunch":

Preheat oven to 425 F. Have ready an ungreased baking sheet.

2 C flour
1/3 C sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbs (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 C dried blueberries or currants
1 large egg
1/2 C heavy cream, plus 2-3 Tbs
1 tsp grated orange zest

1. Whisk together thoroughly the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
2. Drop in butter and cut in with a pastry blender (or 2 knives) - I'd invest in a pastry blender. Toss butter pieces with flour mixture to coat and separate them as you work, until the largest pieces are the size of peas and the rest resemble coarse brumbs. do not allow the butter to melt of form a paste with the flour.
3. Stir in dried fruit.
4. Whisk egg, cream and zest together, then add to bowl all at once. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the sides and bottom of the bowl 5 - 10 times, turning and pressing any loose pieces into the dough each time until they adhere and the bowl is fairly clean. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8" round about 3/4 " thick. Cut into 8 or 12 wedges and place at least 1/2" apart on the baking sheet. (I make 2 smaller rounds and cut those because I prefer smaller scones).
5. Brush tops with the extra cream.
6. Bake on center rack for 12-15 min, until tops are golden brown. Let cool on rack, or serve warm. Yum.

Lemon Scones (my kids' fave):
Prepare scones above, substituting for the dried fruit 1/4 C chopped candied lemon peel (can be found at Kowalski's in baking section). Increase the sugar by 1 Tbs and use 1 Tbs grated lemon zest in place of the orange zest. I sprinkle sanding sugar ontop of these ones, and cut them into circles (just to make them different!).

So make yourself a cup o tea and some English scones and treat yourself!

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