Old-Fashioned Lemon Cream Scones
From The Best Quick Breads (Canada, UK), by Beth Hensperger.
One bite of this warm, homemade scone and you'll be transformed into a lover of these exquisitely simple tea breads. The crust should be a thin, slightly crunchy exterior band over a dense, yet moist and fluffy, interior. The cream is important in producing the crumb, but substitute milk if you must. This basic recipe is the springboard for many variations, but I always come back to the plain scones. Served with butter and homemade fresh strawberry or peach jam, they cannot be beat. If you desire scones made with fresh summer berries, rather than mixing them into the dough, incorporate them by gently sandwiching them between two rounds of the dough and pinching the outer edges before cutting the dough into wedges. This technique keeps the berries from being squashed, losing their shape, and bleeding heavily into the dough.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 2 tablespoons sugar (optional), for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C). Grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Cut in the butter with a fork or a heavy-duty electric mixer until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl or 1-cup measure, whisk together the eggs and cream. Add to the dry mixture and stir until a sticky dough is formed.
Turn out the shaggy dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently just until the dough holds together, about 6 times. Divide into 3 equal portions and pat each into a 1-inch-thick round about 6 inches in diameter. With a knife or straightedge, cut each round into quarters, creating 4 wedges. The scones can also be formed by cutting the dough using a 3-inch biscuit cutter to make 10 to 12 smaller scones.
Place the scones about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with the cinnamon sugar, if desired. Bake in the center of the oven until crusty and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately with butter and homemade jam, or cool on a rack and freeze in heavy-duty freezer bags for up to a month.
Yield: Makes 8 scones
Related Article: Fixing the math in this recipe
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