Monday, August 31, 2009

Scones? Yes please.

When we were in Paris, my favorite place we went to was a small restaurant and bakery called Rose Bakery. It is owned by Rose Carrarini and her husband, who are from England, but moved to Paris to open this wonderful place. They have a big white counter to the right, just as you enter the door. It has the day's pastries, bowls of salads, pizzettes, and other stuff, all piled and stacked to choose from. Lots of people carried it out or ordered and ate there. They also have a menu to order from in the restaurant with things like pancakes, granola, toast, pastries, yogurt, smoothies...etc. for brunch, plus lunch items as well. The design was simple, clean, modern, but so cozy and warm too. We had breakfast there. It was delicious, and since it looked so good, we also had a piece of carrot cake to share, which was AWESOME. They cut them into cylinders with about a half inch layer of cream cheese frosting on top. Absolutely perfect.
The point of this story, other than to make your mouth water for some cake, is that I received the Rose Bakery cook book for my birthday from my brother, and I've just made a recipe out of it.
I decided to try the blueberry scones, because I haven't made scones since I was a very small kid- maybe four? They also looked fairly easy to prepare, and yummy, of course. They are lighter than most scones, with only 1/2 cup of butter, and call for an egg, plus enough milk to make 1 1/4 cups (measured with the egg.) I decided to use lowfat buttermilk, because Tyler Florence told me that buttermilk should be substituted for milk in any baking recipe. There are only 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3 1/3 cups of flour, plus a handful of wheat flour, 2 heaping tablespoons of baking powder, the zest of a lemon, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 handfuls of blueberries. I mixed the flours with all the dry ingredients, then the lemon zest, and accidentally added the blueberries before the butter. This made for an interesting situation as I added cubes of cold butter, since I had to try to avoid squeezing berries as I incorporated the butter with my fingers. I was somewhat successful, but lost about 8 blueberries in the process. It was similar to the process of making pie crust, as I pressed butter into flour between my fingers, until it was course and bread crumb-like. I beat an egg, then added buttermilk to it, until I had 1 1/4 cups combined, as Rose instructed. I made a well in the center of the dry mix, then poured the milk/egg into it, and incorporated wet into dry with a fork. I abandoned the fork far too soon and went straight to using my hands, which was VERY sticky and difficult to manage. Next time, I'll continue with a fork until I've added enough extra flour to make the dough workable. I floured a surface, and plopped the dough onto it, patted it into a circle lightly, and use a knife to cut rough little triangles or squashed squares (I don't have any biscuit cutters). I brushed the tops with a beaten egg, and placed the pan in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. They were golden and very shiny and pretty. I did not put any light brown sugar on top, as Rose suggests, before I baked, because I didn't have any and I forgot.
I ate one warm, with some blackberry jam, which was great, but the recipe says to serve with Creme fraiche. Greek yogurt might be good, with honey too, but the jam was really delicious. So, scones are good, and pretty easy to make, and you probably want to try some.

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