one thing i did this summer was develop a serious addiction to scones. not those dense, brick-like things you are likely to find at certain ubiquitous global coffee outlets. but rather, these light, delicate, crumbly, wonderful, fresh scones still warm from the oven. fruited scones. it all happened on vacation, as these things sometimes do.
at the delightful hob knob inn in edgartown on martha's vineyard, breakfast was included, a wonderful thing in and of itself. and also, breakfast was perfect. perfectly cooked eggs, choice of sides and breads, tea, coffee, fruit, fresh squeezed juices and the best scones i had tasted in many many years. these were not dry like ships biscuits. they were light as air, delicate crumb, warm and flavorful, crispy edges. wonderful. they served different flavors every day, cranberry, blueberry, peach, raisin. all perfectly addictive, though blueberry was my favorite. and it was self service, you could take as many as you wanted. such generosity!
quite spoiled upon my return, i wanted nothing else for breakfast. luckily, i had the good fortune to have a similar recipe already in my possession, squirreled away several years ago whilst we lived in san francisco. a recipe from a wonderful chef, maria helm sinskey. she once worked at plumpjack cafe in san francisco, and now i believe devotes her time to being head chef at her husband's napa vineyard, (robert sinskey vineyards, where incidentally, they make excellent wines). in any case, maria and i worked together in the kitchen at a charity event where we bonded over butter, the very best danish butter*, and the amazing scones she baked for the event. they were currant, which i didn't hold against them at all, even though i find currents to be so tiny and dry they hold little appeal. (that shows you how good these really scones are, they can even overcome the shortcomings of dried currants!)
there was only one thing to do once i returned from mv: dust off maria's shamefully unused recipe, switch out those currants and make a few other minor adjustments (more sugar, less cream, more fruit). i used a combination of blueberries and nectarines and, wow. they turned out amazing. i will be making more later this week, and possibly every week from now on, maybe with some figs, or the last of the peaches or the early apples. i can't say. anything would be spectacular.
without further adieu,
light as air fruit scones
makes approximately 15 scones
4 ounces very cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks, preferably lurpak danish butter
1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup organic sugar
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup total fresh fruit: berries such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
and/or peaches, or nectarines chopped into small chunks
(if using chopped fruit and it is very juicy and moist, you may want to lessen the amount of liquid added in the final step.
if using berries, no need to chop, berry sized is perfect.)
3/4 cup organic heavy cream
1/4 cup organic milk
preheat oven to 450 degrees F or 425 if you have a convection oven
mix together the salt, baking powder, sugar and flour in a mixing bowl. add the cold butter chunks. with a cuisinart, pastry blender, or mixer with a paddle attachment, blend in the butter until it resembles sandy, coarse, cornmeal. add the fruit. then add the cream/milk mixture. mix with a wooden spoon only until the mixture just comes together. turn out onto a floured board and knead ever so lightly to incorporate the ingredients. line your baking sheet with parchment paper. drop dough onto baking sheet in two inch mounds. or cut the dough with a 2 inch round cutter. i prefer the more rustic drop method myself. more nooks and crannies that way. bake for just 10 minutes or so. they will be puffed and golden with light brown edges. allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
enjoy. miraculous, life-affirming, delicate and delicious, scones. but be careful, they are powerfully addictive.
* maria went to pastry school in denmark and firmly believes the best butter in the world is danish butter, because it is so very elastic. which makes it wonderful to work with and superior for all types of baking and pastry. in the ensuing years, i have found her to be 100% right. danish butter has never let me down, and always improves my results, by at least a smidge.