Before I studied abroad in college…many years ago…tea did not occupy much space in my mind. But after spreading my first London scone with rich, clotted cream and taking my tea with milk and sugar, I was smitten with this English tradition.
Tea arrived in Paris (mid-17th century) before it became popular in England, but according to legend, one of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting is credited as the creator of afternoon teatime. Between the noon and evening meal, she was itching for something more. She first had her servants sneak tea to her, but then began inviting friends to join her for an afternoon spread of small cakes, sandwiches, and of course, tea. Since then, afternoon tea has been a popular pastime, and one that I have jokingly (and not so jokingly) suggested we implement at each of my three post-college jobs. But we American’s have this terrible habit of working more hours than we should and harboring stress, which complicates this mid-week, mid-afternoon period of ultimate relaxation and reflection.
Well, at least we have weekends. I love to prepare these scones on Sunday morning for a leisure breakfast, or tuck them into my purse for a work snack. It might not be office policy, but I can certainly warm my scone in the microwave and make a cup of tea to take back to my desk…and you can bet whenever I make these, I’ll be dreaming of England for a few minutes around three o’clock…
Cranberry Orange Scones
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
Makes 14-16 scones
4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced (3 sticks)
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn't stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.
Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes, then serve with prepared honey butter.
Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell
1/2 pint cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add all ingredients and whip on high speed until the cream starts to clump and turn light yellow. Continue mixing as butter forms and the buttermilk begins to separate out. Scrape sides and continue mixing until mixture is one lump of butter. Place butter into a clean container or serving dish and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.