30 July, 2009

Best Blueberry Scones Ever

Since blueberry season is drawing to a close, I forced my sister Genevieve to make my mom's famous blueberry scones just so that i could take a picture and post about them. We are blessed with gourmet cooks for parents and, as witnessed by the July 4th entry, even hot dogs are an event in their home. They are always searching for the "best" recipes and, this one from Cook's Illustrated, definitely fits the bill. Do not be put off by the lengthy instructions, Cook's is nothing, if not thorough AND well researched...

Makes 8

It is important to work the dough as little as possible; work quickly and knead and fold the dough only the number of times called for. The butter should be frozen solid before grating. In hot or humid environments, chill the flour mixture and work bowls before use. While the recipe calls for 2 whole sticks of butter, only 10 tablespoons are actually used (see step 1). If fresh berries are unavailable, an equal amount of frozen berries (do not defrost) can be substituted. An equal amount of raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries can be used in place of the blueberries. Cut larger berries into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces before incorporating. Refrigerate or freeze leftover scones, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. To serve, remove foil and place scones on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven. Heat until warmed through and recrisped, 8 to 10 minutes if refrigerated, 16 to 20 minutes if frozen. See final step for information on making the scone dough in advance.

16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), frozen whole
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (about 7 1/2 ounces), picked over
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surfaces
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Grate unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater (you should grate total of 8 tablespoons). Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 tablespoons butter for another use. Place blueberries in freezer until needed.

2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.

4. Roll dough into approximate 12 inch square. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to counter top. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4 inch square. transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.

5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12 inch square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4 inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.

6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

To Make Ahead:

After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425 degrees and follow directions in step 6. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375 degrees, follow instructions in step 6, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes.

Kindness of Genevieve for making these on demand. Kimba, these have your name written all over them....

6 comments:

  1. You are making it hard for me to reach my goal of donning a 2 piece...but those look worth baking.
    I adore Cook's Illustrated.
    pve

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  2. yum! those look delicious!

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  3. One of your parents neighbours used to be a pastry intern at the Cooks Illustrated Test Kitchen!

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  4. Dear Allie in Gtown,
    I find myself almost exclusively using the Cooks' illustrated Best Recipes Edition cookbooks. They perfect the recipes so well that they are fool proof. Must try this one. Thanks for sharing, Denise

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  5. Yum, yum, yum. I am saving this one!

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