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Scones with Currants and Lemon Zest

Working quickly with a light touch and baking the dough as soon as it is formed will help ensure tender scones. So, too, does baking the scones in a hot oven, which gets the baking powder working right away. Serve the scones warm, split open and topped with Lemon Curd (see related recipe at left) or your favorite jam.

Ingredients:

For the dough: 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest 
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
  • 1/2 cup dried currants 
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream 


For the topping:

  • 1 Tbs. granulated, Demerara or turbinado sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. milk or heavy cream

Directions:

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

To make the dough by hand, in a bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas. Stir in the currants. Pour the cream over the flour mixture and stir with a fork or rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

To make the dough with a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest in the processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to mix. Add the butter and pulse 7 or 8 times, just until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas. Scatter the currants over the dough. Pour in the cream and pulse just until moistened.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press gently until the dough clings together in a ball. Pat out into a round about 1/2 inch thick and 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Cut the round into 6 wedges, or use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut out rounds. Place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

To make the topping, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Brush the dough with the milk and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar.

Bake until the scones are golden brown, 13 to 17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Makes 6 scones.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).