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Scones and blueberry curd

I have always thought scones are the sad, dry , crumbly sibling of biscuits, but since my trip to Ireland, I’ve been enamored with scones, curd and cream. Last weekend I made Cooks Illustrated’s cream scones substituting dried cherries for the currants, this weekend I made their cakey scones, substituting fresh blueberries for the currants (why does CI love currants so much?).

 

I preferred the cream scones; I think the cakey ones were, well, for lack of a better word, too cakey. 

 

 

Cream Scones

Makes 8.   Published February 1, 2005.  

The easiest and most reliable approach to mixing the butter into the dry ingredients is to use a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Resist the urge to eat the scones hot out of the oven. Letting them cool for at least 10 minutes firms them up and improves their texture.

 

2

cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1

tablespoon baking powder

3

tablespoons sugar

1/2

teaspoon table salt

5

tablespoons unsalted butter , chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1/2

cup currants

1

cup heavy cream

Instructions

1.      1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

2.      2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in large bowl or workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.

3.      3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Add currants and pulse one more time. Transfer dough to large bowl.

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

5.      5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Following illustrations below, cut scones into 8 wedges. Place wedges on ungreased baking sheet. (Baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.)

6.      6. Bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

 

Cakey Scones

Makes 8.   Published February 1, 2005.  

An egg changes the texture and color of the scones and helps them stay fresher longer, up to 2 days in an airtight container.

 

2

cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2

teaspoon baking soda

1/2

teaspoon table salt

1

tablespoon granulated sugar (1 to 2 tablespoons)

4

tablespoons unsalted butter , chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4

cup heavy cream

2

large eggs , lightly beaten

1/3

cup dried currants (see headnote)

Instructions

1.      1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.

2.      2. Sift first 5 ingredients into large bowl, or measure into workbowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade; pulse until blended. With pastry blender, 2 knives, or steel blade of a food processor, cut or process butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps.

3.      3. If making by hand, make a well in the center of mixture and pour in heavy cream and eggs. Working quickly, add currants and blend ingredients together with a rubber spatula into a soft, slightly wet dough. If using a food processor, pour cream through feed tupe; pulse until dough just starts to gather into a rough ball (do not overprocess or scones will be tough). Turn dough onto a well-floured work surface.

4.      4. Quickly roll dough to 1/2 inch thick. Use a lightly greased and floured 3-inch biscuit cutter to stamp dough with one decisive punch, cutting close together to generate as few scraps as possible. Dip cutter into flour as often as necessary to keep dough from sticking. Pus scraps of dough together so that edges join; firmly pinch edges with fingertips to make a partial seal. Pat this remaining dough to 1/2 inch thick; continue to cut 3-inch rounds. Place dough rounds 1 1/2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Bake until scones are lightly brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

Our afternoon tea in Ireland included an assortment of curds, not just the standard lemon, but coffee and blueberry, too. R loved the blueberry curd and as soon as we got home he started looking for it in shops to no avail. After my success with the cara cara curd, I decided to try my hand at making my own. I am pleased to report it turned out really well; it was luscious, thick and creamy. Adapting the recipe was super easy, so now I'm ready to make a slew of unconventional curds: coffee, fig, mango. Any other ideas?

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