Sunday Morning Creme Scones with Lemon Butter

A few weeks ago, I made the most delicious recipe for lemon butter a.k.a. lemon curd and have been spreading it on anything I can get my hands on ever since. It's delicious on store-bought angel food cake. Or those tea biscuits you get at the British Store. Or toasted potato bread. But, in the back of my mind was a little voice nagging, "Come on! You're a baker. You know you need to get off your ass make actual, real, home-baked scones to go with this." That voice got louder and louder and, although scones are not my favorite treat and I do tend to save my calories for freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, I finally relented. And, man, was it worth it.

Let me just say that these scones should be made on their own merit, not just to couple with condiments you may want to try. Silky crumb, tangy sweet and perfectly soft with a gentle crunch provided by a pre-baking sprinkle of sugar, it'll come as no surprise to you that I based the recipe on one by the formidable chemist-baker Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston. Ms. Chang would probably have preferred I follow her Classic Currant Scones recipe to the letter, but I didn't have currants, buttermilk nor sanding sugar, so, I made due and called them Creme Scones after the creme fraiche.You can fill them with 1/2 C of any dried fruit, really, or nuts, if you like. For me, the toppings were the thing, so, I opted for a rich backdrop for those the lemon butter, homemade berry jam and more creme fraiche.

The lemon butter is a labor of love that I whole-heartedly recommend, but if you're iffy on cooking egg yolks on the stove top or simply don't know what you'll do with 12 egg whites (lowfat quiche! omelettes!), just buy something in a jar like this one.
Once these come out of the oven, make yourself a cuppa, sit to table and call them skahhhns, dahling.

Hope you love these as much as Jeremy, Lulu and I did.



Creme Scones
2-3/4 C flour
1-1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/3 C sugar
1/2 C cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 C milk (or buttermilk, if you have it)
1/2 C cold creme fraiche
1 cold egg
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 T sugar, for dusting

Yield: 8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 35-40 minutes

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the dry ingredients. Add butter and either blend with your hands or a pastry blender until the butter is broken down into pebble sized pieces.

In another bowl, blend the milk, creme fraiche and egg until thoroughly mixed. Add the wet ingredients to the butter mixture and blend just until the dough comes together. Mix in any remaining flour with your hands (in case you're using the pastry blender).

Place the dough onto your baking sheet and mold it into a circle. Brush with the beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with sugar. Then, cut the round into 8 wedges and pop into the oven. Bake 35-40 minutes (or longer if necessary) until the center is set and cooked through, but soft. Overbaking these dries them out.

Re-cut your slices and serve with your favorite jams, butters and whipped cream, Devon cream or creme fraiche.

Lemon Butter
12 egg yolks, at room temp
3 T grated lemon zest
1 C lemon juice
1-1/2 C sugar
1 C unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Yield: about 24 ounces
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Setting time: 3 hours to overnight

In a medium-sized sauce pan, whisk the yolks, zest, juice and sugar together until thoroughly blended. Turn the heat up to medium-low and cook gently 15 minutes or so, until the mixture is thickened. Do not boil it.

Remove from the heat and add in the butter, one chunk at a time, stirring thoroughly after each.

Refrigerate several hours before serving. This keeps in the fridge about 4 weeks and makes enough to share with friends and/or make a tart out of after eating with your scones.

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