Currant & Lemon Zest Cream Scones
To ensure proper rising and flakiness, be sure the butter is cold. You might need to chill the flour and butter mixture after cutting the butter in, but before you pour in the cream. You can substitute dried cranberries and orange zest or dried cherries and sliced almonds for the currants and lemon zest if you like.
For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup dried currants
1 cup heavy cream
For the topping:
1 Tbs. Demerara or turbinado sugar (the big crunchy stuff)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. heavy cream
Preheat an oven to 425°F. Get out a baking sheet and cover it with a sheet of parchment paper.
To make the dough by hand, in a bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Using a pastry blender, or whisk (used like a potato masher) cut in the butter until the mixture come together in a coarse crumb, and the butter is the size of peas. If you don’t have a pastry cutter or a whisk, use your hands in a crumbling motion to make the butter pieces pea sized and evenly incorporated, but be sure to chill the mixture for 10 mins. after this since your hands will warm up the butter too much).
Stir in the currants. Pour the cream over the flour mixture and fold with a big spoon or spatula just until the dry ingredients are moistened. You might find that there is some flour in the bottom that doesn’t want to incorporate with the rest of the dough. Push the dough that is sticking together to one side of the bowl and dribble a bit of cream over the dry parts until it will all come together on one dough ball. Don’t add too much cream, or the scones will turn out too moist and won’t rise as well.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat out into a round about 1 inch thick. Cut the round into 8 wedges (or whatever shape you like) with a sharp knife or biscuit cutter. Make sure you are cutting straight down through the dough and not slicing. The scones will not rise well if you slice. Place 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
To make the topping, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Brush the dough with the cream and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar.
Bake until the scones are golden brown, 13 to 17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Makes about 8 scones.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking.