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Friday, December 13, 2013

Scones


Scones, pantless David Beckham and the like


You do not have to wear pants while eating these
England brought us such wonderful things as our primary language, Dr. Who and most importantly, David Beckham. Or Jelly Babies. Or David Tennant. We can't decide. Wait, I've got it - David Beckham and David Tennant swimming in a pool of Jelly Babies. Yes!!

But have you ever had a fresh baked scone? If not, you're missing one of the most important culinary contributions any country has ever made to the world. Scones are actually the ancestors to what we in the US would call a "biscuit", except scones are slightly sweetened and often have dried fruit in them, most commonly dried black currants. They should be very light and buttery with a hint of crispness on the outside. The inside should be as tender as a cloud. In SW England, they're usually served with cream tea.

For some reason, the scones we've had recently were more akin to a dry, dense crumbly hockey puck one might expect to be served in an orphanage. (Enter Oliver Twist, stage right:  "Please sir, may I have another?") England seems to have lost its way with scones. Or maybe they're stockpiling them for catapult fuel during the impending zombiepocalypse. We're not sure. But a good scone is worth its weight in gold.

One of the things that makes scones so awesome that they're really easy to make. In only fifteen minutes your scones are in the oven. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool but (as with cookies) we both know you're going to burn your mouth eating one right off the tray. :)

There has been much discussion amongst the Hunger Games about the proper shape of scones. In the US, they're triangular. In English countries, they're round.

We prefer to make ours in the triangle shape for two reasons: (1) It's faster! (2) you can use all your dough (re-rolling the scraps to make round ones produces tough scones) (3) We really love the little crispy corners right out of the oven and (4) It's easier to dunk them in coffee (and by coffee, we mean tea. No, not really. We totally mean coffee. Sorry Brits!) Did we say two reasons? Let's just call it "higher math". :)

You can make the mix in a food processor, but it's so easy to do with a pastry blender it isn't worth the clean up effort.





Ingredients:
  • 10 ounces all-purpose flour (2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries (or dried currants if you can find them! crystalized ginger is also good)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients (except the blueberries and butter) using the pastry blender.
  3. Add the butter and cut in with the pastry blender until it looks like course crumbs.
    
  4. Use the pastry blender to mix in the blueberries.
    
    Dried blueberries can usually be found next to the dried cranberries and other dried fruit in your baking aisle
  5. Using a spatula (or fork), gently work the cream into the flour mixture until wet. (Do not try to mix it completely or you'll make gluten which means tough scones!)
    
    This is stirred enough. Stop stirring and turn the mixture onto the counter.
  6. Dump flour mixture (and all its little bits) onto a clean flat surface.
    
    This is how it looks before kneading it
  7. Knead gently 4 or 5 times max to incorporate the ingredients.

    
    After kneading 4 or 5 times, it should look like this
  8. Use your hands to flatten into about an 8" disc. It should be approximately 3/4" thick.
    
    Flatten with your hand into a disc about 3/4" thick
  9. Slice it into 8 wedges and then put them on a baking sheet. (If they stick, slide the knife under them to loosen them.)
    
    Cut into 8 wedges, pressing the knife straight down
    
    Slide the knife underneath to get them off the counter if they stick
  10. Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar (optional).
    
    "Lather us up with that cream and sweet sweet sugar!"
  11. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until they begin turning golden.
    
    "Hey baby, check out my layers!"
  12. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.
    
    How fancy! Isn't that just the cat's pajamas?

4 comments:

  1. Seriously? Wait 10 minutes? Not in my house.

    They're absolutely delicious! How can I ever buy another scone again? It will just be a lifelong trail of disappointments.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Add my name to the Triangle Team! I confess, I forgot to dunk this morning. I'll fix that with a new batch tomorrow morning.

    ReplyDelete