Sunday, January 30, 2005

Apricot scones

While we were in London my SO and I did a lot of cooking, partially because my SO was sick for a week and wasn't in any shape to go anywhere, and partially because we enjoy cooking and wanted to avoid paying for meals at all the expensive London restaurants. However, my SO's brother's kitchen was rather small, and also rather under-equipped (in fairness to him, the apartment came with only limited cooking supplies and he doesn't have much time to cook), so we weren't able to make a lot of our usual dishes.

One dish we did make three times, however, was apricot scones, so they seem like a perfect end-of-the-week recipe blogging post. We hadn't intended on making the scones three times, but by the end of our trip we realized that we had the cream, butter, and apricots necessary to make them, and thus if we didn't make them the ingredients would just go bad.

These scones are relatively easy to make (less than half an hour from start to finish), and they store and reheat well. If you've never had scones, they're basically a sweet biscuit made with cream; they're quite moist and flavorful right out of the oven. As my SO's brother and I like to say, "The secret ingredient is fat."

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, unsalted, cut into pieces
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream

0. Preheat the oven to 425F.
1. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the cold butter to the flour and mix with either a fork, a pair of knives, your fingers, or (preferably) a pastry blender until the butter is well distributed through the flour, being careful not to melt the butter. I typically work the mixture until most of the butter is in very small bits (like coarse sand), with the largest butter clumps no larger than peas.
3. Add the chopped apricots and mix well.
4. Mix the cream and egg together in a small bowl, add to the flour/butter mixture, and mix until reasonably well combined. The dough will likely not be entirely cohesive (there will probably be some dry mix at the bottom of the bowl and a few large clumps), but if the mixture is not holding together well at all you can add a bit more cream.
5. Knead the dough in the bowl or on the countertop a number of times (I usually do around 10 kneads) to complete the dough mixing and get a single cohesive mass of dough.
6. Roll the dough out on the counter until it is approximately 3/4-inch thick. The dough is usually soft enough that I just press it out with the palm of my hand.
7. Cut the dough into approximately eight to twelve pieces, place on a cookie sheet, and bake until the tops are browned, ~12-15 minutes. If desired, you can brush the tops of the scones with milk and sprinkle them with sugar before putting them in the oven, but I usually don't do this.
8. Serve the scones immediately, with plenty of butter or jam.


Virtually any dried fruit will work well in place of the apricots, such as blueberries or currants, though our favorite alternate is probably dried cherries.

One variant of this recipe we enjoy is blueberry almond scones. To make these, add 1/3 cup of dried blueberries and 1/3 cup of slivered almonds in place of the apricots (in step 3), doing everything else as described above. The almonds add a pleasing crunch, and would go well with most dried fruits.

To store the scones we let them cool to room temperature and then wrap them in plastic wrap or put them in leftover containers and leave them at room temperature. To reheat the scones we put them in a 350F oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until they're heated through.


Rombauer, I. S., M. R. Becker, and E. Becker. 1997. Joy of Cooking. Scribner, NY.

[Update July 2007: Added blueberry almond variant.]

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