The most traditional sweet biscuit–like texture is obtained by using both butter and heavy cream. If you prefer a cake-like texture or want the scones to stay fresher longer, try the Cakey Scones variation. The easiest and most reliable approach to mixing the butter into the dry ingredients is to use a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Resist the urge to eat the scones hot out of the oven. Letting them cool for at least 10 minutes firms them up and improves their texture.
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, preferably a lower-protein brand, such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup currants
1 cup heavy cream
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Whisk together or process with six 1-second pulses.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using a food processor, remove the cover and distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with twelve 1-second pulses. Add the currants and quickly mix in or pulse one more time. Transfer the dough to a large bowl.
4. Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer the dough and all dry flour bits to a countertop and knead the dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Press the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work-surface. With a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet. (The baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.)
6. Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: Makes 8
Variation: Cakey Scones
An egg changes the texture and color and helps these scones stay fresher longer, up to 2 days in an airtight container.
Follow the recipe above, reducing the butter to 4 tablespoons and the cream to 3/4 cup. Add 1 large egg, lightly beaten, to the dough along with the cream.
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