Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ginger Lemon Scones

I have been making these scones for about ten years.  When I was in my last two years of college I lived with my Aunt Lisa and Uncle Tilman, and in addition to recipes for parmesan broiled fennel, spicy tomato-stewed cod, and the phenomona of eggy-brekky (on Uncle Tilman's mother Hanna's fine china on Sundays and birthdays), one of the best recipes I acquired was my Aunt Lisa's variation on a Gourmet magazine recipe for scones.  I have since added my own variations, making everything from tropical fruit scones to cranberry almond and so on.  If you've lived with me or near me, worked with me, or otherwise endeared yourself to me before mid-morning, you've likely had these scones.

Today we're having a broker open house to help sell our condo, and I thought I'd make these scones to help make the place smell yummy and otherwise charm potential buyer-agents.  I got up earlier than expected, so I had time to jot this down while the scones cool. I once set about to make these and didn't have a lemon, but did have a lime, and those turned out quite nicely as well.  You can use any sort of candied ginger, but the best is freshly candied slices of ginger you can dice up yourself.  But that can sometimes be hard to find (checking an Asian grocery is usually helpful), but I have had acceptable results with supermarket pre-diced candied ginger.  Just buy only what you need and if it feels like rock candy, don't use it.  The key to the tenderness in these scones is minimal handling.  This is a pastry, not bread.  Be careful to not overknead.  
The scones are moist and tender enough to serve on their own, but if you want to gild the lily, serve with jam or butter (I put out some cherry preserves with these).

For scones:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 TBS cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup finely diced candied ginger
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk (don't use skim, but 1% works just great, but whole milk makes a decadent scone, and if you have it, use it)
For glaze:
  • juice of lemon
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • Mix together flour, baking powder and salt with a fork in a big bowl
  • Using fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture, making the mixture crumbly
  • Toss in candied ginger, lemon zest and sugar
  • Pour in milk and mix gently with fork/hands until just incorporated into a single ball
  • Turn out onto a board
  • Cut dough into two and gently pat each section into a six-inch diameter circle
  • Cut each circle into 8 wedges
  • Place wedges about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet
  • Dissolve the 2 TBS sugar into the lemon juice, and brush atop scones
  • Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes, until golden, but not brown.
  • Remove from pan immediately and place on a cooling rack under a tea towel for 15 minutes before serving

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