Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Perfect Rustic Raspberry Scones

This post is an improvement on a cranberry gingerbread post I put up a while back. Those scones were ok- but they were a little dense and the recipe was too tedious for me.

I liked the step by step photos on that post, and I will include them here, but in all honesty the recipe and outcome has always bothered me. So here is the real story on how to make really amazing scones:

This dough looks - I don't know how else to put it - kind of pukey! You can't imagine this sloppy wet mess cooking all the way through and coming together into a delicious pastry, but it does.

In the photos below, my dough was over-worked, and the moisture content in the dough was too low.

The real trick is to not over work the dough to an extreme. When you add the cold grated butter, you don't work it in, you merely toss it into the flour. When the recipe says "shaggy mass" of dough, it doesn't mean just a little rough around the edges. By "shaggy" we mean "chunky".

When you make tender and tasty scones, things won't look as neat as they do in the photos above. Be prepared for sticky hands, unincorporated dusty flour, and the feeling that you're sort of slapping it together.

I've learned my lesson! This recipe's a keeper. Better than any scone I've had in a coffee shop...

Perfect Raspberry Scones

8 tablespoons (1 stick) frozen butter, grated
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
A bit of finely grated orange or lemon zest and cinnamon (optional for added flavor)
Melted butter for brushing
White sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425.
  1. Grate 8 tablespoons frozen butter and return to freezer for later.
  2. Whisk milk, sour cream and molasses in a medium bowl and place in the fridge until needed.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add frozen butter and toss until well coated with flour. Add 1/2 cup raspberries and toss.
  4. Fold wet mix into dry just until it is pretty much combined. The dough should be moist and chunky. If it's really wet add more flour in 1/4 cup increments. The raspberries will add more liquid later so you don't want it to be so wet at this point that you could pour it out of the bowl.
  5. Turn your dough onto a well floured surface and dust the top of the dough with flour.
  6. Fold the dough over on itself gently 5 times until it forms a rough mass.
  7. Press into a (roughly) 12" by 12" square. Tri-fold once (like a letter), then again into the middle to form a thick 4" by 4" square. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  8. Roll or press your dough into another 12" by 12 " square and spread with the remaining cup of berries. Press the fruit gently into the dough.
  9. Roll the dough into a log, then press into a narrow 12 by 4 inch rectangle.
  10. Cut into equal sized wedges.
  11. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with a generous amount of sugar.
  12. Bake on parchment paper on a baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until risen and cracked and no longer wet in the center.
Let cool for 10 minutes on wire racks before serving.

The raspberries can be replaced with other fresh or frozen (unthawed) fruits. The molasses can be replaced with equal amounts white sugar for a paler pastry. Season to taste. Just remember to work the dough as little as possible and enjoy!

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