In my somewhat obsessive quest to find the perfect scone for my upcoming tea party, it's been a veritable whirlwind of different buttery circles coming out of my kitchen in the last few weeks, but thankfully for our waistlines, my search is over. And really, why am I surprised, when these amazing lemon-currant buttermilk scones are from the genius that is Tartine, the cookbook (and the bakery) run by Elizabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, who have been revolutionizing the pastry and bread world since the early 2000's. What is surprising is that it's taken me this long to feature Tartine as a Famous Fridays post since I LOVE this cookbook and repeatedly keep taking it out of the library. Alas, I do not own my own copy but hint, hint, Mother's Day is coming...
Honestly, you can't go wrong with practically anything in Tartine. It's a classic. Truly! From the Apple Nougatine Tart (made it and it was divine--not sure why I haven't shared it on these pages) to the Lemon Meringue Cake (dying to make it!) to the Pumpkin Tea Cake (not sure if I can wait until pumpkin season for this one) to the Fruit Galettes and more, you are pretty much guaranteed to experience a large measure of joy from each recipe. And the book is filled with lots of explanations of different tricks and techniques to successfully adapt these bakery treats to your very own kitchen. My only warning would be that if you're genuinely a beginner baker you are likely to find many of the recipes and long explanations kind of intimidating, like the one for croissants that spans 6 pages and takes 3 days to prepare! Yikes! But if baking is a passion, this book (and their other cookbooks too) are a must have, as are these scones and they are surprisingly easy to make and so, so good!
Flaky, buttery and light with tons of tart lemony goodness and chewiness from the currants, plus that slight tang from the buttermilk. And that golden crunchy exterior!! Yum!! Not exactly traditional as far as British scones go, but these are so flavorful you don't need any jam or clotted cream to make the experience memorable (not that I have anything against either one--bring 'em on--just not with these scones).
And of all the things I've ever made, these might just be my Mom's favorite! They have already been requested for Mother's Day and I, of course, am only too happy to oblige. 'Cause not only are they so very delicious, they're also easy to whip up . You don't even need a mixer!
These would be a fun and not too challenging weekend project if you've got the time. We are traveling a bit for hockey (of course) so I probably won't get to spend all that much time in the kitchen. Let me know what you're cooking so I can live vicariously! And pick up a copy of Tartine--I promise you won't regret it. I'll see you all next week with some more great recipes as we head towards Mother's Day (don't say I didn't remind you--get that gift now!!)
Tartine’s Lemon-Currant Buttermilk Scones-Famous Fridays
Makes about 14-15
Prep Time: 15 minutes; Bake Time: 25-35 minutes
- 3/4 cup Zante currants
- 4 ¾ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon very cold unsalted butter (17 tablespoons in all)
- 1 ½ cups well-shaken buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
For the topping
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Sugar for sprinkling (you can use ordinary sugar or a coarser kind like Demerara)
1. Preheat oven to 400º F. Butter a large rimmed baking sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Place the currants in a small bowl and cover with warm water for about 10 minutes to allow them to soften up. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Meanwhile, if mixing by hand, sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt and stir with a wooden spoon. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and scatter them into the bowl. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you wind up with a coarse mixture that has pea-sized lumps of butter in it. Add the buttermilk, zest and currants and mix gently just until you get a dough that holds together. If the mixture is really too dry, add a bit more buttermilk. You still want to be able to see some butter pieces to help the dough stay flaky when baked. If you want to use use an electric stand mixer, attach the paddle and sift the ingredients into the bowl of the mixer--just be careful when using a mixer not to over mix or the scones will be tough. Pulse the additions of the butter and mix in the rest of the ingredients on low speed.
4. Dust a board or counter with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Use your hands to shape the dough into a 1 1/2 thick round and cut out 2 or 3-inch circles of dough. Place them on the prepared cookie sheet about an inch apart. Brush the tops with some melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar. If you want to make triangular scones, shape the dough into a large rectangle, 5x18-inches and then cut the dough into 12 triangles, finishing off with the melted butter and sugar on top. Either way, don't let the dough get too thin--these are nice with some height to them.
5. Bake the scones for 25-35 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned. Serve right away as is--I really don't think these need anything. Also, these are best when eaten on the same day, but they actually freeze really well and can be reheated in just a few minutes even on a busy morning. Just let them cool completely and place in an airtight bag or container before you put them in the freezer. They work wonders on grumpy morning folks!
Note: Recipe adapted from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson. I tinkered a bit with these--cut out circles of dough because I wanted them to be more like traditional round scones. Also, the original recipe has you brush the butter over the dough before you cut it out but I didn't read it right and brushed the butter and sprinkled on the sugar after I cut out the scones and it worked really well and seemed less messy that way too.