Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Trio of Scones for Afternoon Tea

Trio of Scones

I love this buttermilk scone recipe from Baking with Julia. Use the basic recipe and customize it to make your favorite flavor. From left to right above are some of my favorite combinations: Cranberry-Orange, Cinnamon-Pecan, and Lemon Blueberry. You could also use fresh wild blackberries, picked from your backyard if that's what you prefer.

I made these scones for an afternoon tea at a local church. Actually, I made 72 of them, doubling the recipe three times, and adding a different mix-in to each double recipe. In order for the scones to be as fresh as possible, I made the scone batter, cut the circle of batter into wedges, and refrigerated them, unbaked and covered with plastic wrap, overnight. The next morning, bake up the scones and enjoy with clotted cream and tea.

Buttermilk Scones
adapted from a Marion Cunningham recipe from Baking with Julia
Makes 12 scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon of lemon or orange zest, or one teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup frozen blueberries or dried cranberries, or chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cold butter pieces and using your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few larger pieces. Add 1 cup buttermilk, fruit or pecans, and zest or cinnamon, and mix with a fork until ingredients are just moistened. If the dough looks dry, add another tablespoon of buttermilk. Gather the dough into a ball, pressing it gently so that it holds together, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it briefly, about 10 times or so, and then cut the dough in half.

On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of dough into a 1/2-inch thick circle that is about 7 inches across. If you are going to bake the scones right away:

For the lemon-blueberry scones, brush the dough with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse or regular sugar
For the cranberry-orange scones, brush the dough with heavy cream only (glaze with orange glaze after scones have cooled - recipe follows)
For the cinnamon-pecan scones, top generously with cinnamon streusel topping (recipe follows)

Cut the circle into 6 wedges. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet (I use a Silpat mat). Repeat with the other half of the dough. Bake the scones for 10-12 minutes until the tops and bottoms are golden brown. Transfer the scones to a rack to cool slightly before serving.

To make ahead the night before:
Cut the dough circle into 6 wedges. Transfer the triangles to a cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, top the scones according to the variations as above. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

To make days ahead: Freeze the dough circles, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap for up to two weeks. Thaw the circles overnight in the refrigerator, cut into wedges and proceed as above.

Orange Glaze

2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons or so of orange juice
fine zest of one orange

Place the sugar in a bowl. Add the orange zest and enough orange juice to make the icing thin enough to drizzle. Add more sugar if too thin and add more juice if too thick. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the scones.

Scones with Cinnamon-Pecan Streusel Topping
adapted from a recipe from Baking By Flavor by Lisa Yockelson posted on Daydreamer Desserts

Make the recipe above with the pecans and cinnamon options in place of the zest and fruit. Just before baking the scones, carefully pile some of the streusel (recipe follows) on top and bake as directed.

for the Streusel:
3/4 cup unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar, sieved if lumpy
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Thoroughly combine the flour, cinnamon, light brown sugar, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl.

Scatter over the butter chunks and drizzle over the vanilla extract. Using a pastry blender or two round-bladed table knives, cut the butter into the flour-sugar mixture until reduced to marble-size bits.

Scatter over the chopped pecans and mix them in.

With your fingertips work the mixture until moist clumps of streusel are formed, pressing and crumbling it into large and small lumps.

1 comment:

  1. LLoooooovvve scones! Which reminds me....I wanted to try those cinnamon ones I told you about with the chips. Stopping by for the toffe recipe to make for my dad......



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