Winter Teatime: Recipe #1 Scones
Yesterday I had a lovely little tea with some friends from grad school. I used to give a tea at least once a year, but haven’t done so in about two years. It was fun to pull out my linens, cups and saucers, and have an excuse to bake up a storm. I have a little repetoire of tried and true tea recipes (which I blogged about last summer), but this time I decided to be brave and try a bunch of new recipes. Oh! what fun I had looking through my cookbooks to find a nice mix of goodies and sandwiches for this winter tea. I’ll be posting a couple of my favorites in the next few days, but most important to any true tea is the scone, so I’ll begin with that.
Normally, I make a cranberry-orange scone that is quick to mix up and requires very little thinking on my part. This time I decided to try a new recipe, and this one took more thought then I bargined for as it was a recipe written in paragraphs instead of typical recipe form (ingredients list, then instructions). I first saw this recipe for Irish Scones over a year ago in the Sept. 2007 Atlantic Magazine. I folded back the magazine to remind myself I wanted to try it, and then it fell into the abyss of my magazine basket. Sorting through some of these neglected periodicals last week, I came upon this article on the very day I was pondering my tea menu. Serendipity? Fate? Coincidence? I’ll leave that unanswered.
I quickly found that making a recipe from an article is a bit trickier than from a cookbook. For one, I had to read through the article, just to come up with my ingredients list and make sure that I had the buttermilk, and other items not always found in my kitchen. List made and ready to go, I then painstakingly made my way through the instructions, working through the sidenotes to pull out the essential actions needed to make these scones materialize.
In the end, the work was worth it. These are some delicious scones and the leftovers have dissappeared quicker than I would have liked. Guess I’ll have to whip up another batch soon, with or without a tea for an excuse. I wonder what other recipes await me in that magazine basket?
adapted from “The Secret of the Irish Scone” by Corby Kummer
1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
1 1/4 cups white pastry flour
2 tsp. b.p.
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup light olive oil (not extra virgin)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs (one is for the egg wash)
1/2 cup currants (or raisins)
1/2 cup frozen raspberries-unthawed (optional–I did not do)
Preheat oven to 500 and place the rack in the middle. Prepare a large cookie sheet by oil or buttering it, or lining it with parchment paper. Combine flours, baking powder and salt by sifting it 3-5 times into a large mixing bowl. In another bowl whisk together buttermilk, olive oil, sugar, and 1 egg. Make sure your currants, biscuit cutter (or jar or glass 2 1/2-3 inches in diameter), and a little flour for your cutter are ready to go. Whisk an egg with a pinch of salt in a small bowl, and get your pastry brush out.
Make a well in the middle of the sifted flour; pour the milk-oil mixture into the well and sprinkle the currants on top. Blend the flour into the liquid-currant mixture with a wooden spoon, working from the inside out and mixing as lightly as you can. The dough will come together easily and quickly. Turn it out onto a large sheet of waxed paper and cover it with another, so that you can pat it into a rough rectangle an inch high; it should measure roughly 8×10 inches.
If you are using raspberries, remove top wax sheet and sprinkle on top of dough rectangle. Fold dough in half, recover with wax paper, and pat the rectangle until it is an even 1 1/2 inches high. Remove top wax paper and cut into rounds with cutter or glass. Dip the cutter into flour between cuts. Transfer the biscuits onto the baking sheet; space about 11/2 to 2 inches apart. Glaze the tops with the beaten egg mixture and refrigerate for 15 minutes (or 10 minutes in the freezer). Remove and glaze again.
Turn the temperature down to 425 and bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet to continue browning the bottoms then transfer to a cooling rack. The scones will stay moist for 2 days. They freeze well. Serve warm, if you can, with butter, lemon curd, jam, or devonshire cream, if you have it.