Morning Recipe: Blackberry Scones from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook
Makes 2 dozen
- 1 cup
fresh huckleberries, blueberries or other fresh ripe fruit
- 3 1/2 cups
- 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon
- 2 teaspoons
- 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1 cup
(2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoons
- 3/4 to 1 cup
well-shaken cultured buttermilk
- 2 to 4 tablespoons
About 2 hours before making the scones, scatter the berries or fruit on a cookie sheet and put it in the freezer. (If using large berries, cut them in half.)
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and drop in the cubed butter. Put the bowl in the freezer and leave it there for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and set it aside.
Using a pastry cutter or two knives, work the chilled ingredients together in the bowl until the butter cubes are the size of peas. Make a well in the center. Combine the vanilla and 3/4 cup buttermilk in a separate bowl, and pour the mixture into the well. Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon to form a shaggy, slightly crumbly mass. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to let the flour absorb the liquid, then fold one more time. If the dough seems simply too dry to come together, add 1 tablespoon buttermilk at a time until it just barely comes together. The dough should not be too wet; the scones will spread too much.
Add the frozen fruit and gently mix them in, trying not to crush them.
To shape the scones, scoop a small handful into your palm and press it into a tall, fat puck and put it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat, leaving enough room for the scones to double in size. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with the turbinado sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown around the sides but still tender in the middle.
Carefully transfer the scones to a cooling rack and let them cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Cool completely before storing in a loosely covered container. Store for up to three days.
Adapted slightly from The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook by Michelle Wojtowicz, Phillip Wojtowicz, Michael Gilson, and Catherine Price, and published by William Morrow Cookbooks.
A few notes on the recipe and my changes. The authors are precise about keeping everything very cold. They instruct you to freeze the fruit for a little while before adding it, which helps it stay distinct in the scones (a very smart technique). They also have you chill the bowl of dry ingredients and butter before mixing. Don't skip this; it gives great results.
The original recipe specifies huckleberries or blueberries, but the authors say they rely on what's in season to guide them in the day's flavors. Peach is a favorite here, and blackberries are in season right now for me so that's what I use.
Also, the recipe instructs you to form the scones by packing the dough into a round cookie cutter, then lifting the cutter away. This creates very large scones — small cakes, practically — and I prefer smaller scones that I create by pressing a handful of dough into a thick puck. With this approach, I get over 2 dozen scones from this recipe, although the original yield is 1 dozen.