Blueberry scones in the summer time are like apple pie in the fall – not to eat either in season is to relinquish a small part of your humanity. When I was photographing Jody at Rialto cooking classes I always showed up ahead of time to “check the lighting,” but after shooting the same place at the same time of day the only thing to check were the three trays of scones sitting on the bar to welcome class participants. Blueberry were my favorite – and I checked them every time. For the full story on these scones be sure to check out the Jody Notes at the end of the post.
- 7 ounces (198g) unsalted butter, frozen
- ½ cup (122g) milk or cream
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup (60g) whole milk yogurt, preferably Greek
- 3 cups (435g) unbleached all-purpose flour + additional for rolling
- ½ cup (100g) sugar + additional for sprinkling
- 1 teaspoon (4g) salt
- 1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2g) baking soda
- Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
- 2 teaspoons (8g) finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 cups (250g) berries
- Using box grater, grate the frozen butter onto a piece of parchment paper. Use the side with the largest holes. Put the paper with the butter on it into the freezer.
- Set aside 2 tablespoons milk or cream for brushing the scones. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the remaining milk or cream and then add the yogurt. Put into the fridge to chill.
- Put the flour, ½ cup sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest and rosemary leaves into the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment.
- Process to mix, about 10 seconds.
- Add the frozen grated butter. Process on medium speed until evenly distributed, about 15 seconds.
- Add the egg mixture to the batter and process until just combined, about 20 seconds. Don’t over-process or the scones will be tough.
- Dump the dough onto a floured counter and pat it into a 10 inch square.
- Fold the dough in half over itself and pat out again. Do this several times or until the dough comes together and is no longer shaggy.
- Pat out the dough again into a 12-inch square, spread the berries evenly over the dough and press to secure. Fold into thirds so there are essentially 2 layers of blueberries and 3 layers of dough. Pat into a long rectangular shape about 12 inches long, 4 inches wide and 1-inch thick.
- Cut crosswise into 5 small rectangles and cut them into triangles to make 20 scones.
- Set on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Brush with the reserved milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar.
- Freeze for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
- Bake with convection for 35 minutes. I like them dark golden brown and crunchy. If you like them lighter, cook a little less.
- Allow them to cool on racks completely, then brush with lemon glaze.
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- Stir the sugar into the lemon juice until the two are completely blended, then add the rosemary.
I was making cupcakes at midnight, the night before Roxanne’s 5th birthday when I discovered we were out of butter. Instead of a fluffy frosting I made a glaze with lemon juice, confectioner’s sugar and blue food coloring. They looked pretty dreadful and Roxanne was not happy. She said I was fired from cupcakes. On future birthdays we bought cupcakes from a local baker with mile-high frosting made with vegetable shortening.
Anyway, Ken has been hounding me to make scones since one of you asked for the recipe for the scones we used to serve before Rialto cooking classes. The thing is, it was one of the pastry chefs – Tal, Susan or Jonathan – who made the scones. They were fluffy, crunchy on the outside and not too sweet. I did some digging and found two Rialto scone recipes, one of which started with 64 cups of flour. Once I scaled it back down and compared the two recipes with a base of 3 cups of flour, it turned out one had eggs; the other didn’t. One had ½ cup sugar, the other had ¼ cup. One had 3 ounces of butter; the other had 9. And one had 1 cup cream the other had 1½ cups. Help… which was right? I knew I was sort of starting from scratch.
In the end, I merged the recipes, swapping out some of the cream for yogurt, stealing the brilliant techniques from America’s Test Kitchen of using grated frozen butter and of folding the berries into the dough. The lemon zest and rosemary are my additions.
Note: I had to test it 3 times before I got it right. Maybe if Roxanne hadn’t been so mean and I’d had the opportunity to level up my birthday cupcake game, I could have been a baker.