It’s been quite a while since the baker in our house appeared on Chewing The Fat. Truth is, Andrew does almost all his baking in Bridgehampton. That’s where the stand mixer is and all those other baking necessities. But to make these scones didn’t require the stand mixer. In fact, it didn’t even require the food processor used in the recipe. Andrew made the dough by hand. And these scones, a hit with everyone who tasted them, may mean he’s going to have to bake in the city from now on. Especially these incredible scones.
Scones sold in New York are a last resort when it comes to choosing pastry. Especially suspect are those at corner delis. They’ve likely been sitting around drying out for days.
The secret to great scones is something we discovered on a Viking Ocean cruise two years ago. Making their appearance at that great ritual of afternoon-tea-at-sea were the most delectable of scones. Flaky, moist, flavorful and just waiting for a dollop of clotted cream to finish them off. Their presentation was in a saucer like dish, atop an individual tea pot, keeping the scone delightfully warm. The secret of the Pastry Chef’s success? Viking’s scones hadn’t been out of the oven for more than 45 minutes at most. Freshness is the secrets of a great scone. The other secret is a fantastic recipe. And this one really qualifies there too.
In Santa Monica, California, there’s a bakery and café called Huckleberry. It’s owned by a husband and wife named Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan. Natives of the oceanside town, the two have a mini-empire of restaurants. At one of these, Rustic Canyon, the pair hosted a Saturday morning breakfast. So successful were these Saturdays they opened Huckleberry right across the street. If you’re in Santa Monica, be sure to put them both on your food itinerary. Huckleberry is at 1014 Wilshire Blvd. (Tel: 310 451 2311). From the bakery came the cookbook “Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets and Recipes from Our Kitchen” (Chronicle Books 2014). It’s a beautiful book. And it’s filled with generous helpings of baking wisdom, hands-on experience and details. The particular piece of advice that comes along with Ms. Nathan’s sensational scone recipe is to handle this dough as little as possible. That creates a buttery scone with blueberries amazingly intact. Then an egg wash and a sprinkling of caster sugar creates an astonishingly golden crust over the fluffy, light buttery interior with its hint of lemon from the zest. As I mentioned, Andrew did the mixing by hand. I’ve given you the original recipe which called for the food processor. The other thing he did was to imbed the blueberries between two layers of dough and once that was done, he barely handled the dough at all. His blueberries weren’t even bruised. Into the fridge the scones went. And that 30 to 40-minute wait is the hardest part of the whole recipe. Here it is. There’s a link to an earlier take on scones following this recipe.
Blueberry Buttermilk Scones
A truly sensational flaky lemon-y scone, studded with whole blueberries.
- 3¼ cups + 2 tablespoons (420 grams) plain flour
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (130 grams) caster sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- ¼ cup (55 grams) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (230 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 centimetre cubes
- ¾ cup (180 ml) buttermilk
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1½ cups fresh blueberries
- Egg wash - 2 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons cream whisked together
- Step 1 Begin by placing the flour, caster sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chopped butter into the large bowl of a food processor. Pulse 3-4 times, just until the mixture is combined. You should still see pea sized pieces of butter strewn throughout the flour.
- Step 2 Add the buttermilk and lemon zest and pulse 2-3 times, just until the mixture is wet.
- Step 3 Tumble the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and add the blueberries. Use the heel of your palm quickly flatten the dough, gather the dough back together and repeat 3-4 times. Don’t overwork the dough, it should still be quite crumbly – this is what creates the most luscious short buttery scones ever.
- Step 4 Flatten the dough into a 2 centimetre high x 40 centimetre (approximately) long rectangle. Cut the dough into approx. 15 triangles. Place the scones onto an oven tray and pop into the fridge to chill for 30-40 minutes.
- Step 5 At this point feel free to freeze the scones should you wish to cook them another day. Just be sure to wrap them tightly and pop into a freezer safe container. They will keep stashed away in the deep freeze for up to three months.
- Step 6 Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 F). Remove scones from fridge, brush with a little egg wash and sprinkle over a little caster sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. A good way to test if the scones are cooked is to press lightly on the centre, if the scones bounces back they’re done. The scones should also be easy to lift from the pan.
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