Lately I’ve been craving…scones. Not biscuits, mind you, which are certainly wonderful in their flakey, fluffy soda-y-ness. Scones. I think it may be the result of the infusion of British accents several times a week: English, Irish, and New Zealanders.
So anyway, Theo and I gave in yesterday and baked up a batch, but kind of like my grandmother would have made, had she ever made scones, which I doubt. It’s the French ingredients, see. We started with my basic scone recipe, American-style, which means the measurements are by volume, not weight. European recipes mostly don’t use cups and teaspoons, but I brought my own kitchen measuring devices.
So…we mixed three cups flour (and I finally found some I am SURE is the equivalent of all-purpose), some salt, 5 teaspoons of baking powder (lavure chimique), and 1/2 cup of sugar together, and cut in my best guess of a 1/2 cup of butter. I can’t eyeball a stick, because butter comes in these rectangular slabs. And they are marked by the gram, not the tablespoon, not the fraction of a cup. I felt I was totally channeling my grandma, watching the texture of the dough, trying to get something almost like coarse sand, rather than tapoica, like I would for pie. Theo beat an egg into a cup of cream (the tiny little bottle of cream is actually creme entiere, which is one of several kinds of little bottles with the word creme on them, and was my best guess to be heavy cream), and we barely worked that into our dough.
We had decided on cinnamon scones, so I shook a pile of, I dunno, maybe a half teaspoon of cinnamon on the dough, then barely worked that in as well. This dough was turned onto a floured surface, and we put another half teaspoonful on the dough, floured the top, and folded the dough about four times. You really do NOT want to work the dough too much; the scones lose their tenderness. Also, the goal with the cinnamon is that some works through the whole dough, but some kind of clusters through it in ribbons.
We cut this dough pile in half, shaped the two halves into circles, then cut each into quarters. These were placed on an oiled cookie sheet and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar. We baked them at 400 degrees F, which turns out to be 200 degrees C. I’m slowly adjusting to that French oven! I watched them closely, and it took about 10 minutes. I think they may be the best I’ve ever made.
It was amazing with a double cafe from my Senseo. And this morning Stoney and I chopped ripe French peaches (which are always amazing) and topped the scones with those. Crisp on the outside, tender inside, and just sweet enough. It’s enough to give you a British accent of your own!