January 19, 2013 by athenahm
When I was a wee bairn (little kid), my Scottish grandmother taught me how to make scones like she had been making scones since she had been a wee bairn. We made scones before most Americans knew what they were. The scones that have been made popular by big coffeehouse chains(I’m looking at you, Starbucks) are not what I call a scone. Scones are not supposed to be overly sweet. They are supposed to be a relatively blank slate(maybe studded with some raisins or currants) for you to slather wonderful things such as butter, clotted cream, currant jam, rhubarb preserves, or lemon curd on. Oh, lemon curd. How often neglected is this amazingly creamy, sweet, and fresh-tasting substance! So much potential. Holy tangents, Batman! Scones, Athena. Back to the scones.
I have had this scone recipe memorized since I was 5, not even kidding. This week, my son had to do a social studies project for his third grade class. I was so proud when he came home to tell me that he had chosen Scotland as his nation to do a report on. Part of his assignment was that he had to make and bring and authentic food from that country(And before everyone goes nuts on me, yes, I realize that Scotland is now part of the UK. I am not UKish, I am bloody Scottish(among many other distinct heritages of which I am very proud, but will not bore you with). And if my baby boy wants to do a report on a country that is no longer a country because it’s what is important to his momma, I say, “Damn right he is!” So there. Family recipe scones and warm lemon curd, it is.
**Disclaimer** My grandmother never made lemon curd with me. She always bought it from the British specialty shop. I developed my own recipe once I became an adult and learned to adapt food preparation to my own purposes.
Speaking of adapting things to my purposes- here is the set up I am working with. Note the oven size, as well as the not-so-gentle slope of the burners….
We stayed up late last night to finish the scones, because it took a long time. It took a long time because it was my son’s project, and it’s important to me that he do the work himself. And of course, we couldn’t leave out his little sister. So what would have taken me about an hour and a half from beginning to end, actually took closer to 4… I love my kids, I love my kids, I love my kids.
Golden Butter Scones with Lemon Curd
Makes about 4 dozen 2-inch scones. Preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
For the scones:
4 cups whole milk
4 sticks frozen butter, cubed, or grated
6 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl with a whisk to ensure well-incorporated, then use a pastry cutter or large fork to cut in the cold butter. I had to seriously improvise, here, but I always tell people to be flexible in their methods, so I took my own advice. Two small forks equals one large one, right? …Right? I digress. Once the dough is crumbly, but still a little dry, pour in the milk, and with the large fork, mix dough until there are no longer any dry spots in the flour. Disinfect a large flat surface, and dust it with flour, as well as your hands. Knead the dough only 2-3 times, because it will get tough if you handle it too much. Don’t ruin a beautiful thing. Flatten your dough out with your floured hands, until it is only about 1-inch thick. I used a Turkish cay(pronounced like chai=tea) cup because I wanted relatively small scones, and we are roughin’ it, but use whatever cookie cutter or glass you have and would like to use. Press straight down firmly until you hit the work surface, then gently rotate it back and forth a couple of times to make sure the dough separates. Place on your nonstick baking sheet/stone/parchment paper, and brush all of the scones with a bit of the beaten egg. This is how we get the almost golden glazed look on the top, and gives it the crispy, texture. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven. When they cool, you can break them open and put a dollop of the lemon curd on them to enjoy with your coffee or tea.
For the One-Pot Lemon Curd:
5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp lemon extract
1/8 tsp salt
Many people insist that you must use only fresh ingredients in homemade lemon curd. I think that if you happen to have a fresh lemon or three to zest and juice, by all means, knock yourself out. In this recipe, I simply use juice from a bottle, and lemon extract in place of the zest. It still turns out fresh-tasting with a light and creamy taste and appearance, so it is entirely up to you. This is the quickest and easiest way I have figured out how to make it without sacrificing quality, so this is what I did, here.
Before you turn the heat on, in your small pot, whisk together the butter and sugar. Once these are well-incorporated, add in the yolks, and mix together until it resembles a thick yellow soup. Now you can turn it on medium heat. Add in the salt, lemon juice, and extract, and mix well. Stir slowly and continuously until it becomes clearer and more fluid from the heat. At this point, turn it down to low, and stir continuously for 10 minutes. Let cool. It should now be thick and creamy.