When Antonia was a little bitty girl I made almost everything from scratch. Yogurt, bread, tortillas, pies, cookies, pancakes, jams and pizza. I haven’t learned how to make pasta yet, but I’m going to. I’ve been watching that lovely older Italian woman on PBS lately and she’s inspiring me. With all the talk of Returning to Victory Gardens, and the price of energy and a really practical need to move back to self reliance (oh, yes, my darlings–just watch us reach back and grab every agricultural baby we threw out in the industrial bathwater) I’m more determined than ever to reclaim my 60’s roots and get off the agribiz fast train. For you and for me.
So one of the weekly routines I am now building into my schedule is to automatically make scones. And today I thought you might like to join me, and I’d teach you how to do it, as, frankly? As simple as the recipe is, unless you are skilled and comfy with dough, it can be frustrating and tricky. Even scary. Seriously. So I literally climbed up a ladder this morning in the kitchen and shot a couple of steps so you could see how it should look. If you are a visual learner like I am, you will be reassured. And once you do it successfully, you will see how utterly easy and fast they are and what a lovely addition they will be to your family life. What I particularly like, and am doing, is popping the ones that do not get eaten on the first day into individual bags in the freezer and then I know they are there, for tea, in the morning. Simple. Simple and inexpensive. What does Starbucks charge for a scone, might I ask?
Okey dokey, this is what you do.
Orange Current Scones
Put two cups of all purpose flour in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Add 1/3 cup of sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of baking powder. But here’s the trick. Before you put the baking powder in the flour bowl, put it in a small open bowl and crush it down with a spoon to make sure each crumb is in its tiniest form. Otherwise you chance getting a bite that is acrid. See? OK, whisk these ingredients together.
Now. Take a stick of cold butter (don’t cheat, mama) and chop off about a half inch. And then take the big part and cut it into pats. And throw the pats in. And then you need to chop that in with a pastry blender. (Yes, you must use a real pastry blender. And please don’t even think about using any kind of electric machine at this step. You will ruin it.) They always tell you that the goal is to get the mixture looking like peas, but the truth is it’s never going to look like peas, dear readers. Never. Just chop at it and after a remarkably short amount of time you will see there are no big butter lumps in there. That’s when you know you’ve accomplished this step. It’s very fast. You’ll see. Then gently mix in a half cup of currents. You can use raisins if you prefer, but currents are more fun. Trust me.
Then in a separate bowl you crack a large egg. (If you use a small one this recipe will go to you know where in a handbasket and you will be so sorry.) And then you pour in a half cup of cream. Now I’m going to tell you what I’m using here. First I only use organic eggs that came from free range chickens. If you watch the movie “Baraka” you will know why. I’m sure you can get it on Netflix. Secondly I am using Horizon organic whipping cream. It’s expensive as all get out, but this recipe only requires a small amount and it lasts, and I’m making these weekly, so it just boils down to very little over time. So that’s what I’m doing. Do what you need to do. OK, mix those up. Then throw in some finely grated organic orange peel. (You don’t want to add pesticides at this stage of the mix, now do you?) I use at least one teaspoon. It smells delicious.
OK, now this is the part where easy could get weird, and that’s why I took photos for you.
You add the egg/cream mixture to the flour mixture. Just dump it on top. However, now you need to mix with a wooden spoon, minimally. Your mind is going to say, “It’s not mixed up. What do I do with all those crumbs??” When you get to the point where it’s pretty mixed up, put down the spoon. (Have I lost anyone yet?) Now with clean hands, start kneading the dough in the center of the bowl so it begins picking up all those wayward crumbs and loose flour around the edges. Again, you don’t want to do this for very long. At the point at which you think it’s more or less together (i.e, don’t work it until it looks all neat and tidy–it will be overworked and, hello, you will melt all that nice cold butter with your warm fingers and then guess what? They will not be flakey. Bummer.) then flip the dough onto a lightly floured board.
OK, this is the hardest part, OK? You can do it. Start working the dough into a round flat circle, around ten inches across and about an inch high. NOW you can get those naughty ones worked in to the sides of your circle. If they absolutely refuse, leave them. The quality of the cold underworked dough is the most important part. After you do this a couple of times you will become comfortable with this part and you will be amazed how fast you can get it into the proper shape. The butter is your glue, but you want it to stay cold. Here’s what it should look like:
Now. Take a big knife and cut the circle of dough in half. Now quarter it. Now cut the quarters in half. So now you have eight triangles of scones. Easy.
Dabble a bit of cream on top of each scone and then drizzle a bit of sugar on top of that with your fingers.
Pop in an oven on an ungreased cookie sheet, preheated to 475 degrees F. And bake them miraculously for only about 15 minutes!
Now place your scrumptious scones on a cooling rack to cool.
How would you like to serve them? This is what I did this morning. A vase of fresh flowers from the farmer’s market. A lovely blue and white Spode setting in the garden.
Pretty is a good thing.
Love and garden blessings,
Posted on May 25th, 2008 by Kathryn
Filed under: People at Play