Sunday, May 3, 2009

Orange Blueberry Scones

Occasionally, I reach a standoff with one of my favorite meals of the day. That standoff is food boredom, as much as it pains me to admit it, with breakfast. I love a well prepared omelet, but time often runs short to properly prepare one in the morning. A toasted bagel with cream cheese and lox is a personal favorite, but typically is a special occasion breakfast item in our household. I adore oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins and walnuts, but a girl can only eat so much oatmeal. This quandary lead me to my current post, and on a quest to jazz up my tired old breakfast choices.

I will be the first to admit, scones aren't really on my radar. I had to really think about the last time I had one, and then a faint memory of a delightful scone from Starbucks came to mind. Scones conjure up images of high tea, ladies in fancy hats with little dogs, finger sandwiches and mustachioed men in top hats like Mr. Monopoly . Perhaps I had a run in with some fancy scone wielding individual in a past life, as I have no reason to scorn the fair scone.

I found this recipe at Epicurean.com and decided to have a go at it. I chose this recipe as it specifically noted the use of fresh fruit. Many recipes I found called solely for the use of dried fruit. Nothing against dried fruit, I just had a wealth of beautiful seasonal berries fresh from the farmers market at my disposal. One of the distinct joys of Southern California living is the endless abundance of market fresh fruits and vegetables, and I am making an effort to use many more of these fresh fixings in my day to day cooking. This is the original recipe, with my tweaks denoted below.

Fresh Fruit Scones

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh fruit, diced (peaches, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt in bowl and whisk to blend. Add the butter , cutting it into the mixture with a pastry cutter to the size of peas. Gradually add the buttermilk, mixing with your hands until the dough just comes together. Gently mix in the fruit with your hands, careful not to over mix. If the fruit is juicy, less buttermilk can be used.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface with well floured hands. Divide dough in half and form two discs, each two inches thick. Use a knife to cut each disc into six even triangles. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place scones two inches apart on the prepared pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Whisk the heavy cream and egg together. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of each scone with the egg mixture. Sprinkle each scone with turbinado sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer the scones to wire racks.


Et voila! Scones magnifiques!


My recipe tweaks and tips:

  • Added 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • Added the juice of one half large orange
  • Added the zest of one half large orange
  • Turbinado sugar can be found commonly as the brand "Sugar in the Raw"
  • Decreased the buttermilk to 2/3 cup

No buttermilk in the house? No problem! There is a quick, simple and inexpensive fix. Place one tablespoon white vinegar in a small bowl. Add to this one cup minus one tablespoon milk. Let rest for five minutes, and you have instant buttermilk - worked like a charm.

I made this recipe last evening, and may have skimped on the 30 minutes fridge time. By about 20 minutes. You can easily save calories by substituting milk for the heavy cream with a similar result. I lightly dusted the scones with turbinado, and when the final product came out wished I had a heavier hand. A solid sugar layer atop these scones could really add to their visual appeal and add a extra pop of sweetness.

They smelled amazing and true to the recipe, turned a lovely golden brown. The taste test would reveal the true deliciousness of these tempting treats. Unfortunately, they were a bit of a letdown. My fellow taster, Mister SoCal, commented that they tasted like a fancy version of the Bisquick strawberry shortcake biscuits that he had make earlier in the week. I can't say that I disagreed with him, and was left unimpressed with my results. Am I crestfallen and since sworn off scones? Absolutely not. They were moist and flavorful, but sadly the essence of orange did not cut through the sweetness of the dough. This less than optimal outcome only serves to fuel the fire of my pursuit of breakfast alternatives. I wish you luck in your cooking endeavors today and always.

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4 comments:

s. stockwell said...

You know, scones are tricky? is it in the ingredients? the air? the hands of the cook? the best we ever had were from a wood burning stove in Ireland and an old lady who had made them in there for many years? It's the same with croissants? Some things you make but you are just resigned to the results being tasty but second rate? fun post, best, s

thestudiouscook said...

I absolutely adore scones! I have made several recipes and the best one was from Cook's Illustrated. If you shape the dough right away you don't get that amazing flakiness. The trick is to roll out the dough and fold it like a letter, put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes, roll it out and fold it again and the bake it (adding the filling before the last fold). Seriously, this makes the scones delightfully flaky and great!

Brenda Campbell said...

Scones are not really on my radar either but hubby loves them. (probably because his grandmother is British and always made them to go with tea time) and he would love these. Never thought to put blueberry with orange, very interesting and worth a try!

lisat said...

i have yet to engage in any scone-related adventures. i bet in a pinch, frozen fruit wouldn't be a bad choice either.