Yesterday my friend and colleague, Christa, brought in freshly picked blackberries and a client brought us blueberries from her BLUEBERRY FARM (yes, I shouted that) because I am amazed by people who farm things I love. We agreed that the perfect farm would be a lavender/blueberry one. Yes, yes, yes. Oh and add some goats and chickens just for kicks. Mmmm … goat cheese. Sorry, I get distracted.
Christa commissioned a tasty treat made with blackberries. After some discussion and debate we decided blackberry scones would be a great idea. We also talked about how Panera and bakeries seem to make them too sweet, so I had to make a scone that wasn’t too sweet, cakey or dense. That didn’t seem like too tall and order. I knew exactly where to look for a recipe.
They are amazingly good. They’re light, flaky, tender and not too sweet. I could seriously have eaten them all. The blackberries are just a bit tart and the lavender adds just a hint of perfume and romance to the flavor. I liken it to cooking with fish sauce. It doesn’t sound like something good but it adds depth and complexity to foods that you just can’t get otherwise.
If you’ve read my blog before you know I got the recipe from “Cook’s Illustrated”. If you can read and follow instructions you too will cook like a pro using their cookbooks. The folks over there know what they are doing. I added the lavender to the recipe because I love cooking with it. Try it I tell you, try it.
I also made a blackberry coulis with the leftover berries. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and tart. Delicious! Now I need to resist the urge to make pancakes in the morning, or pound cake, or brownies.
So, summer is here, praise the sweet Lord above. I have Sweet Peas blooming, Dahlias about to bloom and berries in abundance. Pastures are green and abundant with calves, colts and kids (goats that is). I love it.
I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am. Next on my list is a kayak. Yes.
Here’s the scone modified recipe from Cook’s Illustrated …
It is important to work the dough as little as possible—work quickly and knead and fold the dough only the number of times called for. The butter should be frozen solid before grating. In hot or humid environments, chill the flour mixture and work bowls before use. While the recipe calls for 2 whole sticks of butter, only 10 tablespoons are actually used (see step 1). If fresh berries are unavailable, an equal amount of frozen berries (do not defrost) can be substituted. An equal amount of raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries can be used in place of the blackberries. Cut larger berries into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces before incorporating. Refrigerate or freeze leftover scones, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. To serve, remove foil and place scones on a baking sheet in a 375-degree oven. Heat until warmed through and re-crisped, 8 to 10 minutes if refrigerated, 16 to 20 minutes if frozen. See final step for information on making the scone dough in advance.
- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), frozen whole (see note above)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (about 7 1/2 ounces), picked over (see note)
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surface
- 1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest (or lemon)
- 1 teaspoon dried lavender
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Grate unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater (you should grate total of 8 tablespoons). Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 tablespoons butter for another use. Place blueberries in freezer until needed.
2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lavender, and lime zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
4. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Following illustrations, fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.
5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.
6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
To Make Ahead: After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425 degrees and follow directions in step 6. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375 degrees, follow directions in step 6, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes.
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