A week ago, a dear friend from my study abroad semester emailed me asking if I could post the recipe for these blueberry scones I had made and gifted her last summer in New York. So I set out the ingredients this morning, substituting dried cranberries for the blueberries because (correct me if I’m wrong?) I don’t think you get blueberries in Bombay and strawberry season is over.
Uday, our live-in domestic help (he’s 26) peered over my shoulder. He’s a really bright kid and always curious about what I’m making and he likes to stand behind me as I take pictures so he can observe how I handle the camera. Despite my aversion to the cook (who was at my mom-in-law’s this morning) and the idea having staff members at all, I really don’t mind Uday. He laughs at my Hindi (for a while he spoke to me in Gujarati, thinking I would understand it better, which I did but I then I got confused because I didn’t know he knew Gujarati…) and is not terribly annoying, like the cook.
Anyway, today, as I was starting, Uday asked, in Hindi, “What are you making?”
I said, “Scones!” and pointed to the picture in my cookbook.
“Ah, biscuit,” he nodded.
“Ha, biscuit,” I replied. These scones, which are especially lovely when eaten warm, do, in fact taste like biscuits. I think it’s because they barely have any sugar- just two tbsp. I can’t remember what I did last summer, but today I followed the recipe and found that I could barely taste the sugar; the sweetest pieces were those with the crunchy top crumb, on which I sprinkled brown sugar. If you like your scones almost biscuit-like, then follow the recipe exactly. But if you wouldn’t mind them sweeter, then double the sugar to 4 Tbsp. Otherwise, this recipe is absolutely perfect. My dough was neither too sticky nor too dry, and the ready scones were fragrantly soft. -Another thing, though: I would use fresh berries, preferably blueberries. My cranberries taste just fine but fresh berries are juicy and dried berries are, well, shriveled.
After Uday and I peeled the scones from the pan, I told him to put the plate of them on the dining room table. We both stood admiring them for a few minutes. Then he asked, “You’re not going to take a picture?” “Ha, ha” (yes, yes) I replied, and went to get my camera.
Blueberry (Cranberry) Scones
adapted from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea
Makes 12-15 scones
3 1/3 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 handful wholewheat flour or corn flour (optional, I used wholewheat)
2 verp heaped Tbsp. baking powder
2 (or 4 if you want your scones to be somewhat sweet) heaped Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
grated zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange
110 g (or scant 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing
2 handful blueberries (or dried cranberries but I recommend fresh berries)
about 1 1/4 cup whole, 2% or soy milk
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C or 400 degrees F and grease baking tray with butter.
Sift the plain flour into a bowl and add the whole wheat/corn meal if using.
Mix in the baking powder, sugar and salt and then add the butter and rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs.
Mix in lemon/orange zest and then add tue blueberries and mix well.
Beat one of the eggs in a measuring cup and then add enough milk till you have 1 1/4 cups.
Make a well in the middle of the flour (still in the bowl) and pour the liquid inside. Using a fork, work the dry ingredients into the wet; then finish mixing by hand but be careful not to overwork the dough- just lightly bring everything together. The dough should be firm but softish and not at all sticky. If it is too dry, add a little more milk and if it is too wet, add some flour.
On a lightly floured surface, pat (I patted) or roll the dough into a solid shape, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a 2 inch cutter (I used my 1/2 cup for the cookie cutter, just turning it upside down and pressing it into the dough), cut the dough into rounds and place them on the greased baking tray so they almost tough.
Beat the remaining egg and use to glaze the tops of the scones.
Sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.
The scones might stick together so take them gently apart when they have cooled a little.
Serve warm with cream (I ate mine plain).