Saturday, March 27, 2010

Best in Scone: How to make beautiful breakfast pastries

If you want to make gorgeous scones that look better than the stuff in the case at Starbucks, you need to do three things. No, four.

#1 You must get a coarse sugar for the top. You just must. King Arthur Flour sells some.
#2 Don't add egg to the dough unless you're baking them far in advance of people eating them, or if they'll be sitting around all day. The egg will make them softer for a longer period but won't make them as crumbly at the start.
#3 Don't over mix. I say this all the time in the sweet kitchen. If you work the heck out of anything with flour it's gonna turn into a bagel.
#4 Shape matters. I am partial to the triangular scone which are easy to shape with a bench scraper. But, when making a traditional current scone, they just have to be round, and brushed with egg wash prior to baking.

White Chocolate and Sour Cherry Scones
Print recipe only here

Makes 8 scones

  • Cuisnart (if you don't have one, freeze your butter and grate it in a box grater. Return grated butter to the freezer for an hour after grating to refreeze, then add to the dry ingredients.
  • Parchment paper
  • Coarse sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups berries

In Cuisinart, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda and pulse to combine.

Add butter to the Cuisinart and process just until the flour takes on a slight yellow color and there are no huge pieces of butter left.

At this point I usually empty the contents of the cuisinart bowl (herein referred to as THE MIX) into a large ziploc bag and freeze overnight. At the very least throw it in the freezer for an hour before proceeding.

When ready to bake:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Set out a sheet pan fitted with parchment.

Dump the mix into a large bowl. Stir in the buttermilk with cutting-type motions. Be very delicate here. Do no over mix or over handle.

When mostly combined throw in your berries - about 1 1/2 cups. See below for varieties.

When the fruit is just combined into the dough, dump out onto a floured work surface, pat into a 10" circle and cut into 8 wedges.

Sprinkle with crystal sugar and bake at 350 (or 300 convection) until they are very nicely browned. They want to sound hollow when you tap on their undersides, too.

They bake for about 40 minutes, but every oven is different, so get used to using your eyes and ears to determine baking times. Set the timer for 30 minutes and then peek at them every 5 min or so until they're done.

Follow the same method for all varieties. Combine the dry ingredients in the Cuisinart, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in berries or spices or whatever you're adding. Then add buttermilk.
Blueberry: When I use blueberries (frozen are fine) I also add a bit of freshly ground nutmeg. Lemon zest is nice with blueberries, too.
Strawberry: Only use fresh berries, and chop them up - the frozen ones have too much water.
Peach and nectarine are great summertime scones, chopped up into triangular dice.
Cranberry-Orange scones are great in the fall and winter. Add the zest of 1-2 oranges to the recipe.
I also like Currant scones with a bit of orange zest. I like to egg wash the top of the current ones, and cut them using a round biscuit cutter. Serve them with clotted cream if you can source it.
Cinnamon: Add about 2 T cinnamon to the plain mix and top the scones with cinnamon sugar before baking.
White Chocolate and Sour Cherry: I use equal measure of both, so 3/4 cup of each. And I don't bother to plump or chop the cherries. I like the ones from Trader Joes - delicious.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Best scone I've ever had!