Monday, February 1, 2010
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.
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.
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.