“Half memoir, half travel, A Yank Back to England...is an absolutely wonderful book, not only about going home again but also about love and family and tradition and the passage of the years.”
—Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic (Washington
To see the entire quote, click here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Teaching Denis to savor scones

My Mum could barely cook water. Baking, for her, was another country altogether, a dangerous land filled with peaks of burnt crusts and valleys of undercooked batter as treacherous as quicksand. When it came to scones, Jesse wisely went to the bakery aisle of the local Co-op. So I grew up with pre-wrapped, pre-cooked scones best described as baked widgets. These scones had hard brown crusts, the insides of which possessed the look and texture of hard-packed snow, with just as much flavor.
The scone Frances bakes is another matter entirely. This is a light, ethereal creation with an achingly soft yet firm top, beneath which is a light buttery interior where plump raisins hold sway. With each bite this tiny concoction tumbles apart with languid ease into a soft, sweet, slightly chewy morsel and the world is a decidedly better place for it. Proof in the pudding? Try baking Frances’ scones yourself. Just add clotted cream and strawberry jam (well, butter or whipped cream in a pinch). And if, at that point, your taste buds fail to fandango and saliva glands adamantly refuse to gush, you are beyond hope and you have my sympathies.

Here’s the recipe:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsps baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsps (3/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/2-3/4 cup raisins
1 cup milk

Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut butter into mixture with pastry cutter or 2 knives until butter is reduced to pea-sized crumbs. Add raisins, pour in milk and stir quickly to make a firm dough. Don't overmix--no need to get rid of every flour speck and the butter bits make scones flakier.
Roll out dough on floured surface or between plastic wrap sheets until 3/4"-1" thick; cut into 2" rounds with cookie cutters and place and parchment-lined cookie sheet. Brush lightly with milk and bake in preheated 400 F (200 C) oven for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool slightly but serve warm! Makes about 16. (Note: We made 50 teeny-tiny ones to take to international night at Kate's school and they went faster than the chocolate chip cookies!)
Enjoy and let us know what you think!


Amy said...

I could have overlooked the recipe itself but you put in the picture....dang it! I'll put in dried cherries in place of the raisins though...

Anonymous said...

Ooh, this will be a fun recipe to try. Thanks!!! *SK*

Jamwes said...

Looks interesting.

weenie_elise said...

looks like a good recipe...although I would favour a raspberry jam over strawberry

willow said...

This is making me sooo hungry this morning!

The World Lyrics said...

Thanks, I may try it, nah ok, but ill get my girlfriend to have a bash. My mum struggled with cooking water too. That made me laugh, classic line. Keep it up.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Thanks for sharing the recipe, I will try it this evening...
I have made scones for many years, and eaten them all my life. You become addicted.
Our local Publix grocery store has a bakery, that bakes them fresh every bloomin' day, filled with currants, raisins, blueberries, cranberries...oh what delights, and even the clotted cream to go with them on the Imported Brit Foods shelf....hmmmmmmmm

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Please, everyone, do let me know if you like the scones as much as I do!

cube said...

Overmixing is the biggest problem with making scones. My first batch came out like hockey pucks.