Thursday, April 15, 2010
Lemon Scones with Maple Sugar
I have said it before, I am picky when it comes to scones.
Scones should not be square, or triangle, or resemble a cheese puff. They should be high, and flaky, and rich. What I am holding in the picture is the smallest half of the scone...
Restaurants, cafés and bakeries make them into thin triangles to produce more out of a recipe, no waste, more money. I say you make them well, and people will always come back and pay a bit more.
Once you've tasted the real thing, you don't want all the extra sweet stuff that people mix in (chocolate chips is the most insulting...save that for muffins), they are best enjoyed with a bit of butter and some nice quality jam and fruit.
The trick is to handle everything lightly, a general rule of baking, pie doughs and such. I notice that it makes a lot of people nervous: take your time, make sure your ingredients are the right temperature, and if you have a visual guide, follow it! I handle and fold the dough almost like I would work with puff pastry...
Here is what the dough looks like before being cooked, delicate layers.
I topped them with maple sugar today. We have an ongoing discussion at work about maple sugar losing its taste once it is cooked off... yep, doesn't taste much, I rather sprinkle with turbinado for extra crunch.
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp sugar (omit if you are doing savoury)
1/3 cup chilled butter, cubed
1/2 cup 35% cream
1/2 cup yoghurt (i use Mediterranée, no diet stuff!!! you can also susbtitute with sour cream)
zest of one lemon (or two if you like it very lemony)
Egg wash to brush the tops, or cream, and sugar to sprinkle
Preheat oven to 375.
mix the dry ingredients in a big enough bowl.
mix the other set of ingredients, except butter, with a fork in another bowl.
with your fingers, work the butter into the flour until pea sized. (If you want to be really whacky, you can keep your hands cold in a water bath from time to time - or work with frozen butter, but then you need strong fingers to squish!!)
Incorporate the wet ingredients delicately with a spatula. It does not need to be perfectly incorporated! Turn the bowl over on a work surface. press down the dough, folding in threefolds until flour is fully incorporated. The less you manipulate, the fluffier they will be.
The reason storebough are some 'doughy' is because they are way too manipulated and don't have little butter pockets. As butter cooks, it bubbles and creates air pockets (croissants are the best example!)
I then cut in circles, but do as you wish! brush with egg wash (or cream) and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Turn down oven to 350 and cook for about 12 minutes until lightly golden.