Picking the very first recipe is troublesome. Should I make a big splash and do something over the top? Should I pick a tried and true favorite? What about starting with the basics? I finally settled on an often maligned pastry, and many times with good reason — scones. When they are good they can be sublime but quite often they are, well, just not. I have tasted many — dry, crumbly, tasteless scones and wondered, why?! It’s not a time consuming project nor do scones require special equipment or odd ingredients. They simply need the proper ratio of ingredients and a light touch.
These scones are moist, slightly sweet, and are easily adaptable to your favorite add-ins. Give them a try. They’re bound to become a breakfast or afternoon tea favorite.
by volume by weight
1 ½ cups all purpose flour 180 grams all purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar 33 grams sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder 4 grams baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 2 grams baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 3 grams salt
7 tablespoons cold butter 99 grams cold butter
3/4 cup heavy cream 113 grams heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest 3 grams lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla 4 grams vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam 163 grams raspberry jam
Preheat the oven to 425F. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together to remove any lumps and cut the butter into fine cubes.
You will notice that my butter is cut into very small pieces. The smaller the pieces, the easier they are to incorporate into the flour. Use a fork or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse cornmeal. This can also be done with a stand mixer but be sure not to let the mixture go too long or you will have a paste rather than a fine crumble.
Add the lemon zest and cream and stir just until the dough comes together and turn out onto a well floured board. The dough should be moist but not sticky.
Divide the dough in half and pat each piece into an 8 inch circle.
Place one circle on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread jam over the circle to within 1/2 inch of the edge.
Cover with the remaining circle and press edges firmly to seal.
Use your hand to lightly pat edges back into a circle.
Sprinkle the top with sugar and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
The middle should feel firm and not wet and the round should be light golden.
Now the hard part! Wait 10 minutes for the scones to cool before cutting into 8 pieces.
If you don’t wait, the jam will be too hot and run all over instead of staying in the middle of your scones!
These scones can be filled with any flavor of jam as long as the consistency is pretty firm. A loose, runny jam will just ooze out and make a mess. Lemon curd is also an excellent choice. If you prefer not to have a filled scone, they can be baked plain or you can stir in 1½ cups of your favorite add-in. Good choices are chopped, dried fruits, toasted nuts, or chunks of dark chocolate. Simply form the dough into 1 round about 8 inches across and cut into wedges before baking.
Space evenly apart on a baking pan. These will need slightly less time to bake.
This dough can also be mixed the day before baking. The almond scones in these pictures were made from dough that had been refrigerated overnight. Form the scones up to the point of sprinkling with sugar. Wrap lightly on the baking sheet and refrigerate. Remove from the refrigerator 1/2 hour before baking and proceed as usual.