Currant Scones: Get ‘em While They’re Hot!
Berkshire native Alana Chernila, local politician, mother of two, and author of the new cookbook, The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making (Clarkson Potter), dispenses change and cooking ideas to readers and friends. She shares her peak-of-the-season recipes with Rural Intelligence to help us make the most of what’s growing in our region. Her first cookbook has achieved top-seller status, and Chernila has just announced that she has a new one in the works: Meals from the Homemade Pantry (Clarkson Potter), due out in 2014.
So I wanted to tell you about scones.
Every couple of weeks, I get together with a group of pretty wonderful women. Sometimes we cook and sometimes we knit, although when we knit, I just sit there and pretend and they forgive me for it.
Everyone brings food for lunch, and these are some women who know good food. So yesterday, I made scones.
I don’t often make scones, as I’m really more of a muffin girl. But part of me feels like I just haven’t found the right recipe. Usually, the right recipe is from this book, so I decided to try out Alice Waters’ scones. I had exactly 30 minutes, and the simplicity of the recipe and the lack of butter cutting drew me in.
I was really excited to tell you about this recipe. I took them out of the oven, and as I threw them into a bowl before getting into the car, I shoved one into my mouth and burned the hell out the roof of my mouth.
Even so, it was perfect. Pillowy and light, not too sweet. Filled with air and currants.
I threw them in the car, late for knitting. I knew the group wouldn’t mind that I was late when I walked in with these warm golden scones of perfection.
I ate another one in the car, and it was even better than the first, due to the lack of pain from the burning.
The morning progressed. I pretended to knit. My scones were eaten, and I felt proud. I received compliments, and of course I believed them.
But later in the morning, I had another. Oh, would that I had abstained, and then I could have remained with the illusion of my own scone success! What was once a soft bite of flaky deliciousness was now…
Once currant scones, now currant pellets. I felt the urge to use them in some sort of a sport.
I’m sure that Alice is not at fault. How could she be! Perhaps I overmixed — but I just don’t know.
So why am I still telling you about these, despite the pellet nature of the end product. Well, although I considered keeping the whole thing from you, I realized that I had to share the recipe with you, and to tell you that you should absolutely make them.
And eat them immediately.
Or at least within a half an hour. They come together in a moment, and they are perfect if a friend is coming over for tea, or if you need something exciting to feed your children in the afternoon.
These are so, so, so good when they are warm.
I think that you will like them, and so, I give you, the recipe, for:
Make in 30 minutes, Eat in 30 minutes Currant Scones
Adapted from Alice Waters, the Art of Simple Food
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup currants
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together in a large bowl the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and currants. Stir in the cream. Mix until the dough just starts to come together. It will be very sticky. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a few times, adding more flour to make this possible if the dough is too sticky and liquid-y. Pat the dough into an 8 to 10 inch circle. Brush with the melted butter, and sprinkle with the sugar. Either cut the circle into 8 wedges or use a biscuit cutter to make smaller round scones. Place on a parchment or silicone lined tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. —Alana Chernila