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Almond Scones with Tangerine Curd

Almond Scones with Tangerine Curd

An English delicacy, citrus curds are traditionally spread on warm scones and tea breads or used as a pastry filling. Curds are simple to make: Egg yolks and sugar are beaten with citrus juice over hot water until thickened, then the mixture is stabilized by adding butter, which allows it to remain thick when chilled. Although curds can be made in a double boiler pan set, they are easier to make in a stainless-steel bowl set over a pan of simmering water. The larger, wider bowl facilitates whisking. Citrus curd will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, making it a good holiday gift.

Ingredients:

For the tangerine curd:

  • 1 whole egg plus 4 large egg yolks
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Grated zest of 1 tangerine
  • 3⁄4 cup fresh tangerine juice
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter

For the scones:

  • 2 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup blanched almonds, finely ground, plus
     1⁄4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 3⁄4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 1⁄4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tbs. half-and-half

Directions:

To make the tangerine curd, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring 1 inch of water to a low simmer. In a stainless-steel bowl, combine the whole egg, egg yolks, sugar and kosher salt and whisk to combine. Whisk in the tangerine zest and juice. Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and whisk until the eggs are warm and begin to thicken, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter 1 Tbs. at a time and continue whisking constantly until the mixture is thick enough to form a thick, nondissolving ribbon on the surface when dropped from the whisk, at least 10 minutes total.

Remove from the heat and strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.

Preheat an oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the scones, in a large bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder and sea salt and whisk until well blended. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or 2 table knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and almond extract. Stir into the flour mixture just until evenly moistened.

Turn the dough out on a floured board, form it into a ball and knead a few times just until smooth. Pat into a disk about 1 inch thick and cut into 12 equal wedges. Transfer the wedges to the prepared pan, spacing them 2 inches apart. Brush the tops lightly with the yolk mixture. Sprinkle each wedge with about 1 tsp. of the sliced almonds.

Bake until the scones are golden brown on the bottoms and lightly golden on the tops, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for a few minutes. Serve warm, with the tangerine curd. Makes 12 scones and 1 1/2 cups curd.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Christmas, by Carolyn Miller (Simon & Schuster, 2003).