From Smitten Kitchen and America’s Test Kitchen.
I am not a baker, but if there is one thing I feel like I should inherently be able to bake, it is a good scone. I am partly Scottish – from my freckled, white skin to my love of its terriers, ponies, and cats, not to mention those kilts. Yes, those kilts…. Anyway, I’ve made tough scones, chewy scones, crumbly and dry scones. My MacBeth ancestors (no joke) were crying, “Ach!” And then came the Smitten Kitchen, a Brooklyn Jew who loves to cook and does it so darn well, and she inspired me to try scones one more time. And would you, and my MacBeth clansmen and -women, believe that I can now confidently make a light, fluffy, not-too-sweet scone that is worthy of clotted cream and lemon curd? These quickly became a Sunday evening tradition during the airing of Downton Abbey on PBS.
Tell me there’s not a better way to enjoy period dramas than with a delicious scone and a great big cuppa.
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants (I used dried cranberries, and chopped them into smaller bits)
1 cup heavy cream (I have used whole milk with wonderful results.)
juice and zest from one lemon
a few tablespoons of confectioners sugar
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
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. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch circle on a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper.
6. Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Combine lemon juice, zest, and enough confectioners sugar to form a drizzle-able liquid. Drizzle over the warmish scones. Serve warm or at room temperature.