Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blueberry and Lemon Buttermilk Scones



Blueberry and lemon buttermilk scones by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
I was asked last week how I relieved stress and I replied "bubble baths." I really should have said "fantasizing about blueberries," because that's what I do. Not in the "Why Violet, you're turning violet!" way from "Willy Wonka," but in the "when I retire from this rat race, I'm going all Lisa Douglas and I'm going to buy a blueberry farm." An organic blueberry farm, with U-pick days in summer and a little shed where I can sell blueberry fried pies, blueberry ice cream parfaits and my fresh-baked blueberry scones.

I'll wear a blue-checked apron and a bandana in my hair, and let people call me "Miss Lucy, the blueberry  lady," and I'll be famous for my Blueberry Lemon Buttermilk Scones. Just thinking about my blueberry days calms me, but I do find myself with the craving for blueberry scones.

My blueberry scones are pretty much the bee's knees, tender and flaky, buttery and just sweet enough. I use my standard buttermilk scone dough, folding in frozen berries from last summer (I use fresh when I have them) and the zest of a lemon, laminating the berries in the dough. I brush them with a buttermilk wash and sprinkle demerara sugar over the tops, for a little bit of sweet crunch as you bite into the tender scone.

Here is my scone shaping method:

1.  I begin by pressing the dough into a rectangle roughly 12 X 6 inches. (I used to have ruler in my kitchen drawer that was quite useful in these situations, but it was used for a homework project and never returned. I'm sure this never happens to you. A chopstick, conveniently, makes an adequate stand-in.)
Buttermilk scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

2. I scatter a cup of frozen blueberries over the dough, followed by the zest of a lemon.
Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 3. I use my hands to firmly press the berries into the dough.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 4.  Fold the dough into thirds, letter-style, over the middle third.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer//A Cook and Her Books

5. Fold the remaining third over the middle.


Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

 6. Turn the dough and press into a rough rectangle approximately 12 X 6 inches.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

 7. Repeat the letter-folding. One-third over middle third.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
8. Final third over middle third. Just push any errant berries firmly back into the dough.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

 9. And press back into the familiar 12 X 6 inch rectangle.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 10. Preheat oven to 400 and have a lined baking sheet nearby. I use Silpat liners, but parchment paper will work, too. Using a sharp knife, cut dough in half cross-wise.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 11. Then half each half. In other words, you want four equal sections of dough.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 
12. Cut each fourth lengthwise, for a total of eight sections.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
 13. Cut each eighth diagonally in half, for a total of 16 scones.

Blueberry scone dough by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

14. Enter the helper, looking for a job. In addition to cracking eggs, she is quite skilled at "painting dough."



Kitchen helper by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books


15. Brush the scones with buttermilk. You may also use cream or half-n-half or make even make an egg wash.

Painting the scones by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

 16. Sprinkle demerara sugar over the tops of scones. Granulated sugar will work, too.

Sprinkling the sugar by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
17. Bake scones at 400 for 15 minutes.


Blueberry lemon scones fresh from the oven by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
   Blueberry Lemon Buttermilk Scones
A key to tender scones is to shred frozen butter into the dry ingredients. I store butter in the freezer, so this is usually convenient. In the wintertime, when my house is at 68 degrees, I can by using butter straight from the refrigerator, but in the summer, when the house is at 78 degrees, frozen butter makes a big difference.


3 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon. salt

2 1/2 teaspoons. baking powder

1/2 teaspoon. baking soda

3/4 cup unsalted butter, frozen

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, plus extra

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Zest of 1 lemon

Half and half or milk or cream for glazing, optional

Demerara or sparkle sugar for glazing

1. In a batter bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Using a regular grater, shred the frozen butter and lightly mix the shavings into the dry ingredients. Using your hands and a gentle, quick touch, make sure the butter is evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture.

2. Pour in the buttermilk and stir gently with either a wooden spoon or my instrument of choice, a silicone spatula. If mixture seems dry, add additional buttermilk until a cohesive dough forms. The dough should be slightly wet and sticky, but not overly so.

3. On a floured countertop, press dough into a rough 12 X 6 inch rectangle and follow shaping instructions above. Fold in 1 cup blueberries and lemon zest, then fold into thirds, letter-style. Press into 12 X 6 rectange again and fold letter-style again. Press again into a 12 X 6 rectangle and cut into 16 triangles. Place scones on a lined baking sheet. The scones can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 24 hours.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Carefully brush each wedge with buttermilk or cream and sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake at 400 for at least 15 minutes. They may need a bit more time, depending on your oven, convection, etc. Scones are ready when they are golden brown on top and bounce back when touched lightly in the center.


Blueberry Lemon Buttermilk Scones by Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Text and images copyright 2011, Lucy Mercer.





10 comments:

Nicole said...

These look delicious! I'm hoping to get some farm-fresh berries this weekend. If I do, I'll have to make these!

On another topic, would you like help testing/developing recipes? I'd love to work with you (for free of course!), if not in the summer then when school starts. I love cooking, but I'm in a big rut. I need to breathe some new life into the food I serve my family! -- Nicole Harterink

Lucy@acookandherbooks said...

Hi Nicole, Thanks for reading! I could always use a test cook - let's talk soon!

Cooking Rookie said...

Your blueberry scones look great! And I love your folding technique :-)

Gene Bowker said...

Looks yummy. Enjoyed the step-by-step photos

Julie Quinn said...

Shouldn't have looked at this today - now I want one - maybe I can get the girls out today and get the ingredients I'm missing. YUM!

Elle said...

Beautiful scones-I wish I had one now! Kitchen time is always more fun with a helper, too.

Brian W said...

Looks great. Question though.. yours is the only recipe that does not have an EGG in it. Want to make these, but afraid to do so not using an egg. Does it need one??

Lucy@acookandherbooks said...

Hi Brian and thanks for reading! Very good question about eggs - this recipe doesn't use eggs. It's like a very buttery sweet biscuit. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Robyn said...

These look heavenly!

Preserving Home Basics said...

Looks delicious!