Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cream scones fit for a Queen, or at the very least, a Prince!

No proper English tea would be complete without scones, would it? I can't imagine why you'd want to even try! The lightness of this dough, combined with jam, cream, butter... whatever your pleasure... they really are delicious little gems. Thankfully, they also got the real-deal-thumbs-up from our resident Brit at work (whew!).

I'm putting them into my "make again & always" file for future scone needs. Why keep looking around when the jackpot has been hit?

Cream scones (with currents, if you choose. I did not.)
from Baking Illustrated
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants (if that's your inclination...)
1 cup heavy cream (I did mostly heavy cream, but some whole milk. I would imagine I could cut it even further downward in the fat department for future bakings
, without dire results.)

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Whisk together or process with six 1-second pulses.

If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using a food processor (I did, for sure), remove the cover and distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with 12 1-second pulses. Add the currants and quickly mix in or pulse one more time. Transfer the dough to a large bowl.

Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the dough and all dry flour bits to a countertop and knead the dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Create a round, flat disc (see picture) and cut into 8 wedges. Alternatively, you can treat these like biscuits and use a round cutter after patting the dough out into a disc shape. I did this, as I was interested in small and round... worked great. Lightly gather up left over dough and re-pat out and keep cutting rounds until the dough is used up.

Place the wedges/rounds on an ungreased baking sheet. You can now wrap in plastic and chill for up to two hours... but why would you want to do that? Bake and enjoy: 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are light brown. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

These baked up lovely and held really well overnight, in an airtight container. They also froze exceptionally well, as we enjoyed a few this weekend with our traditional lazy-morning Saturday breakfast, and they were lovely. Another option for "make ahead" is to mix all the ingredients *except the cream*, and freeze the mix. I have a few baggies of that mixture, frozen for the weekends ahead, and they will come together in a jiff for a fresh scone fix!

The topping you see slathered here is a 50-50 mixture of roasted apricots and butter, with a little brown sugar... a roasted apricot butter, if you will. It was indeed as divine as it looks.

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