"Scones have some of the lovely characteristics of a croissant without the pain and time of making croissants," says Marie Shakespeare, baker at One World Catering. Think flaky and sweet.
The key to baking perfect scones -- cold butter.
In order to maintain the chill of the butter, you'll also need to cool off the filling of apricots, honey, lemon peel and juice. Marie suggests putting it in the fridge for several minutes after it's cooked. "I've learned from doing this wrong a number of times to make it, chill it, cool it, get it to a nice happy temperature with the other ingredients," she says.
Another key to baking perfect scones -- slicing straight down with the dough cutter. Don't twist the cutter, and don't use a sawing motion. What we're looking for is scones that rise nicely without tipping over.
You'll know the scones are ready when they've turned a light brown and puffed up. "That's the cold butter," says Marie. "The cold butter releases steam as it heats and does magic."
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 pound cold butter, cut in small pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Crystal sugar or sliced almond for topping
- 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water for top
- 3 ounces dried apricots, finely chopped
- 1-1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 long strip lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Combine apricots, honey, lemon juice and peel with water in a small saucepan. Simmer covered over low heat for 10 minutes. Discard peel and mash apricots into a thick, chunky puree. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Using your hands, rub in the cold butter. Toss in the sugar. Add milk, almond extract and apricot puree, stirring gently until a soft dough is formed. Knead the dough lightly until it becomes smooth. Don't overwork the dough!
- Cut dough into 2 pieces, and pat each piece into a six-inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place wedges 1-inch apart on a parchment covered baking sheet. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with crystal sugar.
- Bake for about 12 minutes, until lightly browned.