Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blueberry & Lemon Zest Scones

As we speak, I'm breaking into a warm scone fresh out of the oven accompanied by a tall glass of whole milk.  If you haven't noticed, I've gradually become very fond of baking.  It can be a little stressful (like today's wet soppy scone dough. More on that later)  but overall it's really relaxing.  I think I've grown to love baking because despite all the uncertainties (and all the dirty dishes) when you mix bland flour, sugar, eggs, and some other fanciful ingredients together, put it in a hot box for ten minutes, out come delectable confections--nothing as they had looked before.

I had my reservations about these scones; having made scones before that came out hard as rocks.  Molly from Orangette  reassured me that these would be good and I trust Molly.  I used her Scottish scone recipe and although she warned of the murky territory I would enter if I used berries (especially ones that weren't frozen and even more murky if they weren't dried) I did it anyways.  Fresh blueberries--not frozen, not dried.  Straight out of the ugly plastic container, right out of the fridge.  

"I should have listened to Molly", was the thought  that ran through my mind as I kneaded my soppy scone dough which now had half of the blueberries turning into a smushed mess.  "This is NOT going to work."

But as you can see from the picture above, it did work!  Despite my disobeying the recipe and despite the sad, sticky dough that it once was, it rose to become a fluffy, blueberry filled scone.  And this is exactly why I am now a huge fan of baking.

Blueberry and Lemon Zest Scottish Scones
Adapted from Orangette

1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking power
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp sugar
1/2 stick (2 ounces) butter (cold, and cut into cubes)
3/4 cups blueberries (preferably frozen, I would buy a packet of blueberries and freeze them myself rather than buying pre-frozen ones)
the zest of 1 lemon
(optional: turbinado sugar or sugar crystals)

Preheat oven to 425F degrees

In a bowl, beat together the egg and milk and then set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt
Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture with a fork until you have pea sized lumps.
Add the sugar, the lemon zest, and the frozen blueberries and toss to mix.
Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and reserve just a little bit of the egg and milk mixture to brush on top.
Bring the dough together together gently with wooden spoon or spatula.

Turn the dough out onto your lightly floured counter (add more if your dough is too sticky to work with).  Knead it no more than 12 times (according to Molly, 12 is the magic number).  lightly pat the dough into a round approximately 1/2 inch thick, and cut into 8 or 12 wedges.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
Take the reserved egg and milk mixture and brush on the top of the scones.
Optional: Sprinkle the tops with sugar crystals.

Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Place on a cooling rack.

Out come fluffy warm scones just in time for tea. 

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