May 22, 2015 § 1 Comment
Blueberries are back in season, and they’re everywhere right now! Local market providers Triple D Ranch and Sierra Cascade (one of my favs for their sustainable practices and sweet berries) are bringing their berries to farmers’ markets and local stores. Whole Foods recently had a good deal on San Joaquin Valley berries from Delta Blues. Right now blueberries are plentiful, and prices reasonable, so stock up.
Unfortunately, we don’t see many locally grown blueberries (as in, right here in the 650), but we’re fortunate to have some quality regional organic growers from points north. Early season berries tend to be a bit more tart — especially with our cooler weather this year — but we should see sweeter berries as the season continues. I’m digging blueberries in my morning cereal, the occasional blueberry compote (a good solution for too-tart berries), and my favorite: blueberry scones.
If you’re thinking “Meh, scones; they’re so dry,” let me persuade you otherwise. Made with a little love and attention, a good scone hits that sweet spot between pastry and cake. The crumb isn’t as fine as that of a cake or muffin, yet the texture is moist and tender — sturdy enough to be a tasty delivery device for jam or lemon curd.
Scones are essentially a rubbed dough (like pie dough), in which you coat the flour with fat. There are two keys to making a tender scone: adding enough moisture and not overworking the dough. The moisture comes in the form of Greek yogurt and a bit of lemon juice. Not overworking the dough means combining ingredients by hand and work it just enough to combine the ingredients enough into a cohesive dough ball.
If you’ve been meh about scones, give this recipe a try; it’s a nice way to get the blues.
Recipe: Blueberry Scones
Yield: 8 wedges or 12 round scones
These scones are best the day they’re baked. Let them cool completely before enjoying with butter and jam or some homemade lemon curd. Serve for breakfast, brunch, or an indulgent afternoon snack. They also freeze well for up to 3 months.
What You Need:
Half sheet pan
Parchment paper (cut to fit half sheet pan)
Small (1 cup) microwave-safe container for melting butter
Dough scraper or chef’s knife to cut wedges or 2½” round cutter
9.6 ounces organic all-purpose or stone-ground white wheat flour
2.6 ounces fair trade organic sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 ounces (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼ – ½″ pieces
4 ounces organic blueberries (washed)
2.5 ounces organic Greek yogurt (full fat or low-fat)
1.5 ounces lemon juice
1 large egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon raw (demerara) sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line the sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, juice, and egg until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Rather than using a whisk or fork, I swirl my fingers through the dry ingredients to combine, but do what works for you.
- Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients, and using your fingertips, rub the pieces into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
Rubbing the butter in coats the dry ingredients in fat, which will give the scones a tender crumb. It’s okay if a few visible bits of butter remain.
- Add the yogurt-juice-egg mixture and berries to the dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula to combine.
The dough will be wet and sticky as it comes together.
- Flour your hands, turn the dough out onto a floured workspace, gathering all ingredients together and forming the dough into a ball.
Knead lightly, just enough to be sure that all dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together.
- Flatten the ball into an 8″ disk on the floured board or workspace.
The dough should be about ½” thick.
- Cut the dough into wedges or rounds. For wedges: Using a chef’s knife or dough scraper, cut the dough into 8 wedges. For rounds: Using a 2½” round cutter, cut 8 rounds. Gather the remaining dough together into a ½” thickness and cut the remaining 4.
Don’t knead or work the dough too much. Doing so will strengthen the gluten and melt the butter, toughening the dough.
- Move the cut scones to the prepared sheet pan, spacing them evenly.
Wedges: Two rows of four scones.
Rounds: Three rows of four scones.
- Brush each scone with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 12-13 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
- Allow scones to cool on the sheet pan for about 10 minutes, then move to a rack until completely cool.
- Serve plain, with butter and jam or lemon curd.
- Store in a closed container or ziplock bag for three days at room temperature, or freeze for up to three months.