Wednesday, March 30, 2011
from America's Test Kitchen
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 (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a low-protein brand such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury ( I use Heckers)
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
1 cup heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
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. 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 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, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. 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. 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.Variations
A light cream and sugar glaze gives scones an attractive sheen and sweeter flavor. If baking scones immediately after making the dough, brush the dough just before cutting it into wedges.
Follow recipe for Cream Scones, brushing tops of scones with 1 tablespoon heavy cream and then sprinkling with 1 tablespoon sugar just before baking them.
An egg changes the texture and color of the scones and helps them stay fresher longer, up to 2 days in an airtight container.
Follow recipe for Cream Scones, reducing butter to 4 tablespoons and cream to 3/4 cup. Add 1 large egg, lightly beaten, to dough along with cream.
Mix this dough in the food processor; the metal blade breaks down the coarse oats and incorporates them into the dough.
Follow recipe for Cream Scones, making dough in food processor and substituting 1 cup rolled oats for 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. Increase sugar to 4 tablespoons and butter to 6 tablespoons. Replace currants with 3/4 cup raisins.
Follow recipe for Cream Scones, substituting 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger for currants.
My notes: I also use fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or blackberries for this recipe. Toss the berries around in the flour before adding the cream. I do the same with the currants. You can also pat the dough out and cut the scones out with a biscuit cutter...re-roll the scraps and cut again. I usually do not do this though, I like the tender scones that just one quick pat on my marble board gives with out handling the dough too much.