Monday, February 1, 2010

Scones with Currants and Yoghurt

I love scones. How much do I love scones? When I travel, I do a lot of walking around and am constantly famished. On this account, I permit myself both morning and afternoon between-meals snacks while on vacation.

When I went to London last year, I ate scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam for both of my daily snacks. I like them that much. And I didn’t tire of them – I could have probably kept it up for far longer than the five-day span of my UK sojourn.

Scones are probably my favorite quickbread baked good. Something about them has an appeal that transcends even that of my beloved biscuits. Maybe that’s just more of my anglophilia manifesting itself, but I did major in English. I’m allowed a little shout-out to the mother country and her iconic baked goods.

So why don’t I bake them more often? Most scone recipes call for cream as a binder. I’m far from a healthy baker, but I have a hard time eating something if it feels just ridiculously artery-busting. These rules do not apply on vacation, mind, but at home, I try to be more careful – especially since, when I’m preparing something, I can’t pretend to be in the dark vis-à-vis its nutritional content.

Since yoghurt serves as a good, non-flavor-killing substitute for fatty dairy in so much baking, I thought I’d try to whip up some scones with it. I wasn’t aiming for health food, but I was hoping to create something I could nosh on without peering down at my stomach to inquire if it were a loose-jeans day before indulging in a nibble.

This is what I came up with (using a recipe for scones from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook to check the flour/baking soda ratio, but this recipe is a pretty huge departure from theirs):

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks of about 1 cm sq.
1 6-oz container plain greek yoghurt (I used Fage 2%)
¼ cup milk (I used 2%)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of half an orange
½ cup currants (golden or regular raisins would also suffice in a pinch)

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter using a fork, two knives, a pastry cutter, or your hands (I usually use my hands) until the mixtures is crumbly.

Add yoghurt, orange zest, and currants, and mix – the dough will probably not yet adhere. Add the vanilla to the milk, and stir in gently.

Stir milk into dough, sprinkling it to distribute evenly, and mix just until blended – I use my hands to incorporate everything and do a couple of kneads in the bowl before turning it out.

Pat into a round, flat disc. Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter, divide into eight even pieces. If you do this right on the baking sheet, as I do, separate the pieces at least 2" or so apart from one another. 

Bake on parchment-paper lined baking sheet for 12-15 minutes, or until light brown. Makes 8 smallish scones or 6 largeish ones.  There are only 7 in the picture below because ... yes, I had already eaten one. 

And how did I do? I define success, in this case, as fidelity of flavor and texture to “traditional” scones. By this measure, these scones are surpassing.

The crumb is moist and tender without being dense, and the texture is flaky without being crust-like. I wouldn’t have been surprised or disappointed to have been served identical scones Mother England herself. So: yay. Now if only I could find clotted cream in my grocery dairy section …

Printable recipe here.


  1. I haven't made scones in forever... these look so good... who would have thought yoghurt??

  2. Aww, thanks! I'm really a creature of habit with the yoghurt -- I use it in everything. :)

  3. I so relate to "missing" pieces on food photos :-) Nice recipe, will try this later today. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Becky, I made these scones, and we liked them. They turned out a little too dry, which was already my suspicion when I combined the butter with two cups of flour. Will experiment there a little bit. Do you have any suggestions?

  5. What % yoghurt did you use? I used 2% and found them moist enough for my preferences, but going up to full fat would probably make them less dry. :)

    Or you could use cream if you're not worried about the calories. Cream is heaven!

  6. really delicious recipe...I burned 2 sets but in the end I could do ... delicious.


    taebo training