Saturday, November 15, 2008

meyer lemon and fresh cranberry scones

meyer lemon fresh cranberry scones

The fresh cranberry gets no love. I can’t tell you how many recipes I have sifted through recently that boasted cranberry in their titles only to find out that they were actually calling for those shriveled and over-sweetened dried ones. Why must fresh cranberries be “the neglected stepchild of the season“? It is totally undeserved.

fresh cranberries

Fresh cranberries are prettier. They’re impressively hardy, keeping for weeks in the fridge and even longer in the freezer with no noticeable aging. And even though I think this is what puts people off, they have a tartness that makes everything they touch better. Because when you put something tart against something sweet, you get a fantastic contrast and this complexity, my friends, is a very good thing.

chopped cranberriesadding cream

Like here, in a lemon and fresh cranberry scone. Not so different from the dreamy, creamy scones I have been yammering about for years now–what can I say? I never forget a good scone–they’re so much better with fresh fruit, especially cranberries. They’re tart and mildly sweet and fragrant with a mildly crisp edge and softest insides and perfect in every way.

Now go get yourself some.

meyer lemon and cranberry scone

Two years ago: Mushrooms Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Meyer Lemon Fresh Cranberry Scones
Adapted from Gourmet

One of my favorite things about scones is how well they work when you need to plan in advance. Simply roll them out and cut them before flash-freezing them separately on a tray, and sealing them in a freezer bag until you’re ready to bake them. You can bake them right from the freezer, only needing to add 3 to 5 extra minutes baking time. Scones are always best when they’re freshly baked.

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons; preferably Meyer)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons additional if using fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse, or 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries, if you insist
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Accompaniment: creme fraiche or whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a vegetable peeler remove the zest from lemons and chop fine, reserving lemons for another use.

In a food processor pulse flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture. If using dried fruit, add to flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

On a well-floured surface with floured hands pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.

[I decided to rebel and pat them into a square and cut them into smaller ones. The square shapes didn't keep very well, so I don't recommend this! Learn from me, people.]

Serve scones warm with creme fraiche or whipped cream. Scones keep, individually wrapped in plastic wrap and foil, chilled, 1 day or frozen 1 week.


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