Thursday, May 28, 2015

British-Style Currant Scones

Once you see how simple it is to make these British-Style Currant Scones, you're going to want to bake them every weekend!

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British-Style Currant Scones

When I was pregnant, I was obsessed with currant scones (see hereherehere, and here). Not only was my desire to eat them a persistent one, but I also felt a pressing need to make them from scratch. Because the recipe makes 12 scones, I'd bake a full batch of these British-Style Currant Scones on the weekend, leaving half of them out for Stephen and I to enjoy right away and putting the other half in the freezer. Whenever the stash in the freezer ran low, I'd go back into the kitchen and bake a fresh batch.

It was a good system.

I thought I'd abandon my scone obsession after the baby was born, but I actually grew to love the process of making them -- measuring the ingredients, kneading and rolling the dough, cutting the them, brushing on the egg wash, and inhaling their intoxicating smell while pulling the scones out of the oven.

The whole experience is very grounding and helps me clear my head. Now, I make sure to keep all of the necessary ingredients on hand so I can bake them while Caroline naps. If you want to see how simple it is to make scones from scratch, then keep reading!

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Cubed Butter

British scones aren't as rich or as sweet as American scones, so the amount of butter and sugar called for is relatively low. They're also lighter and fluffier than scones you'll find in the States. This just means you can slather on gobs of butter and eat more than your fair share without feeling terribly guilty about it. ;-)

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Currants

Before I go any further, I should tell you that my recipe for British-Style Currant Scones is a lightly-adapted version of a recipe that I found in the March/April 2014 issue of Cooks Illustrated.

If you don't want to use currants (or can't find them in your local store), then you can certainly use raisins instead. Though, I'd recommend chopping the raisins up a bit so you don't have huge chunks of them in your scones.

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Dough for British-Style Currant Scones

Once you've combined the dough ingredients, you'll likely find that the dough is soft and wet.

THIS IS OKAY!

Ignore the temptation to add more flour... The dough is supposed to be soft.

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Dough for British-Style Currant Scones

When you turn the dough out onto your work surface and start to knead it, you'll see that the dough comes together just fine.

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Cutting British-Style Currant Scones

After rolling out your dough, use a sharp-edged biscuit cutter to cut the rounds, making sure to push straight down rather than twisting the cutter. This way, your scones will rise nice and tall.

(If you don't have biscuit cutters in the house, a drinking glass works just the same.)

Arrange the rounds of dough onto a baking sheet and brush the tops with an egg wash so they'll brown in the oven.

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British-Style Currant Scones

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British-Style Currant Scones

When the scones have finished baking, take them out of the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes.

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British-Style Currant Scone with Butter

Or... You can be like Stephen and me and wait, maybe, one minute before slicing open a scone, slathering on the butter, and taking a bite.

Either way is fine.

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British-Style Currant Scones

British-Style Currant Scones
Yield: 12 scones | Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened
  • 3/4 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup low-fat (1%) milk
  • 2 large eggs

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Adjust your oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 500°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat
  2. Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined, about 5 pulses. 
  3. Add the butter and pulse until fully incorporated and the mixture looks like very fine crumbs with no visible butter, about 20 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the currants.
  4. Whisk the milk and eggs together in another bowl. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the milk mixture and add the remaining mixture to the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold everything together until almost no dry bits of flour remain.
  5. Transfer the dough to a well-floured counter (I used a marble pastry board) and gather into a ball. With floured hands, knead until the surface is smooth and free of cracks, about 25 to 30 times. 
  6. Press the dough gently to form disk.. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the disk into a 9-inch round, about 1-inch thick. 
  7. Using a floured 2 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out 8 rounds, re-coating the cutter with flour if it begins to stick. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheet. 
  8. Gather the dough scraps, form them into ball, and knead gently until surface is smooth. Roll dough to 1-inch thickness and stamp out 4 rounds. Discard the remaining dough.
  9. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with reserved milk mixture. 
  10. Reduce the oven temperature to 425°F and bake the scones until they have risen and are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. 
  11. Transfer the scones to a wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes. 
  12. Serve the scones warm or at room temperature with your choice of jam, salted butter, and/or clotted cream.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go // Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Taste As You Go Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate product links. Clicking on the links may result in my being paid a commission based on product sales. Regardless of commission, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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