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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Weekend in Dublin: Lemon, Cranberry Scones ♧

Scones... ❤☺ - what more can I say!

When I go to Dublin, I allow myself a little indulgence.  When you have the chance to visit a place where they prepare something perfectly, it would just be wrong not to enjoy it.  I would never abstain from eating a baguette or croissant in Paris and so, when in Ireland, I allow myself this moment of pure pleasure.

The perfect scone is crunchy on the outside and tender and light on the inside.  For me, it is a cross between a shortbread cookie and a muffin with those two textures wonderfully combined.  You can make them with fruit or without and serve them with fresh creamy butter and jam.  Heaven!

I tested two recipes to come up with the one below which for me has the right balance of flavors and textures.  One from the Joy of Baking http://www.joyofbaking.com/SconesCoffeehouse.html and one from Alton Brown whom I love to watch http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/scones-recipe/index.html.

I was curious about the addition of an egg but it really did not make much difference, if only that the center texture was slightly more moist (I like it a little dryer).  It's your choice to put it in or not - either way the scones are delicious.

You will need:  for 6 large scones
  • 2 cup (260g) of flour
  • 4 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (70g) of sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) of cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) of cream (you may not need to use all of this)
  • 1 egg - optional
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1 large lemon (use organic if possible)
  • 1/4 cup of dried cranberries (or cherries, or raisins, or whatever you like)
  • Additional cream to glaze the scones

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (185°C);
  2. Squeeze the lemon juice into the cream and stir.  Let sit until you are ready to add it to the dry ingredients (this will form buttermilk);
  3. Put the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl and stir together;
  4. Add the cubed cold butter;
  5. Using a pastry cutter tool, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse bread crumbs (alternately, you can use your hands by sanding the butter into the flour i.e. lift the butter/flour mixture up and rub your hands together as if to keep them warm. Repeat until you have the bread crumb texture - this method is actually very good as it adds lots of air into the mix for a lighter dough);
  6. If you are using the egg, whisk it into the cream/lemon mixture;
  7. Add the lemon zest to the cream mixture and then add 3/4 of the liquid to the dry ingredients (the dough should be sticky but hold together, if it is too dry, you can add the remaining liquid);
  8. Add the dried cranberries;
  9. Stir with a fork until just combined (this is a wet, sticky dough);
  10. Lightly flour a clean work surface and knead the dough just to bring it together and form a smooth surface (do not over knead it as it will toughen the dough);
  11. You can either form a large ball and cut it into points (like a pie) or slightly flatten the dough and use a cookie cutter to form rounds (dip the cookie cutter in flour first to prevent sticking);
  12. Brush the top of the scones with cream and bake for 20 minutes or until golden;
pastry cutter

Time investment:  Prep time:  15 minutes
                             Cooking time:  20 minutes
                             Total time:  About 35 minutes

Note:  I also use the same recipe to make orange, chocolate scones.  Add one tablespoon of vinegar to the cream instead of the lemon juice.  Replace the lemon zest with orange zest and the cranberries with dark chocolate chips or pieces.  Really good too.

Another Note:  Round scones are great to make strawberry shortcake.  Make the buttermilk with the cream and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.  Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to the buttermilk and leave out any zest or fruit.  Slice the cooled scone in half and add sweetened whipped cream (or ice cream) and fresh strawberries to the bottom section.  Cover with the top and drizzle with sweetened crushed strawberries (crush the strawberries with a fork and add some sugar to taste - let sit for about 1 hour to let the strawberries release juice, add a few drops of vanilla).  Dust with icing sugar.

1 comment:

  1. Love this recipe! I am going to try it this weekend :) Easter scones...que du bonheur!


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