Wednesday, January 20, 2010

English Currant Scones

Unlike the doughy lumps sold as “scones” in America, this recipe produce traditional English scones—a sweet, tender teatime (or breakfast) treat.

(yields twelve scones)

⅔ c heavy cream
1 large egg
¼ c sugar
2½ c flour
1 Tbs baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled
¾ c dried currants

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, egg, and sugar.

3. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a sharp blade. Pulse to combine.

4. Cut the butter into 16 pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse until the dough reaches the consistency of coarse meal. Add the cream mixture and pulse again until the dough forms a ball.

5. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and flatten into a disk. Sprinkle with the currants and knead until the currants are evenly distributed.

6. Shape the dough again into a disk about ¾-inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter, form individual scones. Combine and reshape the dough as necessary to form more scones.

7. Set the scones on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with butter and jam.

• For a Sunday brunch, we usually make two batches of these scones—one with currants (for the adults) and one with chocolate chips (for the kids).

• Often before baking the scones, I’ll brush them with a little egg, melted butter, or cream and then sprinkle them with turbinado sugar. Similar in taste and appearance to brown sugar, turbinado sugar has large crystals that stick nicely to the wetted dough.

• If you can't get dried currants, small raisins or another small dried fruit (such as cranberries or  blueberries) will also work.

• To form the final scone or two, I just gather up the remaining dough and press it into the cookie cutter.

• An excellent accompaniment to these scones (in place of English clotted cream, which is hard to find in this country) is day-old whipped cream. The night before you make the scones, whip some cream and let it “fall” in the refrigerator overnight. The result is a tasty, thickened spread.

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