Blueberries and cherries give these scones a Fourth of July flair
"Home with the Lost Italian" food writer Sarah Nasello says her recipe for these easy-to-make pastries is a terrific way to showcase seasonal fruits.
FARGO — I consider freshly baked scones to be one of life’s great pleasures. From start to finish, they are easy to make — and, with the right recipe, versatile enough to adapt with a wide variety of flavor combinations.
Past recipes I have shared here include my Strawberries and Cream Scones , Raspberry Almond Scones , Cherry Vanilla Scones , Cranberry-Orange Scones and even a savory option for Bacon and Blue Cheese Scones .
Pastries are a terrific way to showcase seasonal fruits, and I chose blueberries and cherries for this recipe to give these scones a Fourth of July flair. Strawberries or raspberries would also work as a substitute for the cherries, but their higher water content may cause the scones to spread, rather than rise, as they bake (they will still taste delicious).
While some scones have a dense, muffinlike crumb, my scones are filled with pockets of air that produce a wonderfully light and airy texture. Cold is the key to creating this ultra-flaky crumb structure, and I make sure that my butter and cream are well-chilled before I make a batch of scones.
The cold ingredients react with the high heat from the oven to create pockets of steam as the scones bake, which help them to rise and develop flaky layers throughout the pastry. To ensure this result, I cut the butter into half-inch cubes and place them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before making the dough. I also measure the heavy cream in advance, stir in the vanilla extract and lemon juice and then keep it refrigerated until ready to use.
I get the best results when I use my food processor to cut the butter into the dry ingredients which quickly incorporates the cold cubes without allowing them any time to melt. Once the butter is worked in, I transfer the crumbly mixture to a large bowl and add the fruits, followed by the cold heavy cream.
I use a fork to stir the ingredients together until well-combined, and then I use a rubber spatula or dough scraper to gently press the dough and gather up all the stubborn, crumbly bits until a ball is formed.
A large scone is great with coffee, but often too much to finish in one sitting. I like to form the dough into a square by pressing it into a square baking pan so that I can cut the dough into large, medium or small scones. I place the cut scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze them for at least 30 minutes to ensure that they are as cold as possible when they go into the oven.
Before baking, I brush the scones with an egg wash to give them a golden-brown crust, and once the baked scones have completely cooled, I drizzle them with a bit of melted white chocolate to balance the tart nature of the blueberries and cherries and provide the white color for these festive pastries.
Featuring a bounty of fresh blueberries and cherries, these scones are surprisingly light and tender, with a melt-in-your-mouth flakiness that makes them positively swoonworthy. I wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July, filled with the flavors of summer freshness in these Red, White and Blueberry Scones.
Red, White and Blueberry Scones
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1 cup heavy cream, very cold
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
7 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
½ cup fresh blueberries, washed
½ cup fresh cherries, pitted and quartered
½ cup white chocolate chips, melted
In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla extract together. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with butter or cooking spray, and dust lightly with flour, shaking out any excess; set aside.
Place the flour, sugar and baking powder in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse 12 to 15 times until combined. Add the cold butter cubes and pulse 12 to 15 times until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn the mixture out into a large bowl and add the fresh blueberries and cherries. Use a fork to gently stir until evenly combined.
Add the chilled cream mixture to the dough and use a fork to combine the ingredients until a dough begins to form. Switch to a rubber spatula or dough scraper to gently press the dough together, gathering up the crumbly bits and working them into the dough, until a ball is formed.
Place the dough ball in the prepared square pan and use your hands to gently press the dough into the baking pan, working it evenly into the corners. If the dough is too sticky, place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of it while pressing it into the pan.
Place a cutting board over the top of the pan and flip it upside down to release the dough. Use a large, sharp knife to cut the scones into desired size.
For 8 large scones: Cut down the middle from top to bottom, and then across the middle from side to side. Next, cut diagonally from corner to corner for 8 evenly sized scones.
For 16 medium scones: Follow steps above to make 8 scones, then cut each scone in half from top to bottom.
For 32 small scones: Cut into 16 pieces first, then cut each scone in half from top to bottom.
Place the scones on the parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. For best results, place the sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking. Once cold, the scones can be transferred to a freezer bag or airtight container for several months until ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. As the scones chill, use a fork or whisk to beat the egg and milk until frothy and combined; set aside.
Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the top and sides of each scone with the egg wash, wiping any excess from the parchment. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown, and the sides are firm. Remove from oven and transfer scones to a wire rack to cool.
Once the scones have completely cooled, use a spoon or piping bag to drizzle the tops with the melted white chocolate. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
To freeze unbaked scones, freeze them first on a baking sheet for 1 hour, then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months (even longer if using a deep freeze). Bake without thawing (amount of time to preheat oven is fine), adding 2 to 3 minutes baking time if needed.
To freeze baked scones, wrap each individually in plastic, transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature before unwrapping and heat in the oven at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until warm.
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Recipes can be found with the article at InForum.com.