When Hubby and I are with our friends for the weekend, we have a tradition of going on Saturday “rounds.” We visit a local bookshop, fun stores, and a coffee shop or two. For me, this often includes splurging on a scone.
Scones are my weakness; there is literally nothing that breaks me faster. Whenever I explore a new bakery, I can’t help but try one of their scones. A perfect scone should be flaky, NOT DRY, and have a hint of sweet – and it should certainly not be muffin like.
Some of my favorites include the apricot scone from Bittersweet in Chicago, the buttermilk currant scone from Tartine in San Francisco, and the ginger scone from Atticus in New Haven. Not to mention the smattering of scones in England and Ireland that I’ve had the fortune of trying. My love of scones, combined with my love of Downton Abbey, make me think I should bring tea time over the pond. (Though scones might be why giving up gluten for 3 months made me lose weight…. Oh well – there is nothing wrong with an occasional splurge. Or with re-watching all three seasons of one of the best shows ever.)
Here are two versions of buttermilk scones, adapted from the Tartine cookbook.
680 grams flour (4 3/4 cups)
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
100 grams sugar (1/2 cup)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 cubes
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp grated lemon zest
140 grams blueberries (1/2 pint)
For ginger pear:
2 firm pears, chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup crystalized ginger, chopped into small pieces
For topping on both:
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda into a large metal bowl. Add sugar and salt and stir with a wooden spoon. Scatter butter over flour mixture. Use a pastry blender and cut the butter in. You should end up with a pea sized butter lumps in the flour.
Add the buttermilk, lemon zest, and fruit (either blueberries or ginger/pear) and mix slowly with a wooden spoon. Mix until the dough just holds together (you should be able to see the butter).
Dust a clean counter with flour and turn the dough onto it. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 1/2 thick, 5 inches wide, and 18 inches long. Brush the top with the melted butter and then sprinkle with sugar.
Using a large knife, cut the dough into 12 triangles and transfer to the baking sheet.
Bake the scones 25-35 minutes, until lightly browned. You can eat straight out of the oven (yum) or let cool, wrap tightly, and serve the next day or two (they can also be frozen). They taste amazing reheated in a toaster oven.