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Posts tagged ‘Easter baking’

My Amazing Dreamcoat

My parents subscribed to two magazines when I was a kid: The New Yorker and Ranger RickRanger Rick was for my brother and me, and it was pretty great.  It was full of educational games and public service announcements about not starting forest fires.  If we hadn’t read it as kids, there’s a 50% chance we would have inadvertently burned the Blue Ridge Mountains down in the 1980s.

I liked Ranger Rick well enough, but I’d do anything for a good catalog.  After school, I’d grab an L.L. Bean or a Land’s End and read it on the floor of my room until dinner.  What beautifully freckled women!  I’d think.  What fine khaki pants and comfortable loafers!  I traced the images with my finger, wishing I were an an adult who could go kayaking in an Adirondack barn coat, size medium, color “oatmeal heather.”

My mother was relieved that I wasn’t bludgeoning my self-esteem to death with Seventeen or Teen Vogue.  And she was overjoyed that I was idolizing 30-year-old women in straw hats and forgiving bathingsuits.  To show her support, she added me to the Eddie Bauer mailing list.

I’m telling you this so you understand why I’ve never read an issue of Martha Stewart Living.  There was simply no room for Martha in my busy catalog schedule.

I haven’t watched her show, either, so it’s not fair for me to have a strong opinion about her.

And yet. . . 

My mom saw this advice in Martha Stewart Living and it made her cringe a little.  She sent it to me and it made me cringe a little, and now I’m curious about what you think.  Here’s the quote:

Tulips continue to grow even after they’re cut, so after arranging them, you may find that the stems start sprouting in different directions overnight, sabotaging your display.  Stop them by poking a hole through the stem with a safety pin, about 1/2 inch below the flower head.

Isn’t that kind of. . . sinister?  I don’t think it’s wrong to pick flowers, but there’s something macabre about stabbing them later so they can’t unfold as they may.  It’s such a sanitized, aggressive approach to beauty, isn’t it?

So I guess this tulip is going to stay where it is: at the back of the driveway, next to the recycling bin where no one passes by.

tulip

It snowed a little this morning and the petals closed up.  Perhaps they’ll open again by Easter and I can march our guests outside to admire it.  It would be the perfect opportunity for me to wear my Adirondack barn jacket!  And bring my canvas tote!

I can promise you one thing: our guests will have a raspberry scone in hand because these scones are wicked good.

scones finished small

They aren’t tall or starchy or cakey.  They’re short, buttery, and crunchy on the edges.  Inside there’s a tender pillow of raspberries.

They are phenomenal.

scone piece

The recipe is below, but first I’m going to walk you through it Pioneer Woman-style, with pictures, so that you get it right on the first try.  Here goes:

First, cut your frozen butter into your flour and sugar.  Use frozen butter because it’ll hold up in the dough–you’ll still have pea-sized pieces of butter in there, and that will make the scones flaky and delicious.

Add the cream to the butter and flour mixture and stir it with your finger just until it’s incorporated.step 1When you transfer the dough to a work surface, you’re going to see little pieces of butter, clumps of dough, and a lot of loose flour.step 2Push it into the shape of a brick with your hands.  Flip it over and shape it into a brick again.  (This is a gentle way of kneading it.)  Do it a third time if it’s not sticking together at all.step 3Then roll it out until it’s about 1/2″ thick.  If the dough comes apart, just push it back together.step 4Now press frozen raspberries to the bottom 2/3 of the dough.step 5And fold the dough toward you like it’s a letter you’re going to put in an envelope.step 6Roll your log of dough out until it’s about an inch thick and the raspberries are sealed up inside. . .step 7And then cut it into triangles. step 8See?  Then pop the scones in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.step 9When you take them out of the freezer, brush them with a little cream and sprinkle them with a little sugar so you get a nice crunchy top.  Then bake them up!

silpat

Raspberry Scones {Download & Print Recipe}
Adapted slightly from a recipe on Chow and told in my own words.
You can store left-over scones in a tupperware container, but they get a little soggy that way.  You can easily fix this by reheating them in the oven or the toaster oven on Day 2.  Also, in case you’re tempted: I don’t recommend adding chocolate chips to these.  Usually I’m a fan of adding dark chocolate to everything, but it didn’t didn’t marry well with the tartness of the berries here.

Ingredients:

2 c. flour

1/4 c. sugar (plus a little more for sprinkling at the end)

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

8 Tbsp. butter (1 stick), cut into 1/2″ cubes and then frozen

3/4 c. heavy cream (plus a little more for brushing on at the end)

1 c. raspberries, frozen

Directions:

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk it to break up any lumps.  Add the frozen pieces of butter.  (The butter really must be frozen or else you’re going to wind up with starchy scones.) Using a pastry blender or a dough scraper, cut the butter into the flour until only pieces of butter a little larger than the size of a pea are left.  Do not overdo it.  Pour the cream into the bowl.  Using your finger (not a spoon), mix just until the cream is gone and the dough is sticky.  There will still be loose flour in the bowl.

Carefully turn the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and push it into the shape of a rectangle.  The rectangle will be very dry and coming apart.  That’s okay.  Flip it over and shape it into a rectangle again. Do it a third time if it’s really coming apart.  You’re going to think to yourself “this dough is too dry to roll out–I need to incorporate the butter more,” but it’s the chunks of butter that remain intact that will makes the scones so delicious, so don’t worry.  The key is to handle the dough as little as possible so those pieces of butter stay intact and cold.

Keep the long side of the rectangle facing you like in the pictures above.  Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle as best you can, pushing it back together if it comes apart.

Take the raspberries out of the freezer and gently press them into the bottom 2/3 of the dough.  They won’t really stay when you press them in, and most of them will break, which is fine.

Now you’re going to fold the dough like it’s a letter you’re going to put in an envelope.  Run a dough scraper or a knife under the top third of the dough to loosen it. (This is the third farthest away from you that doesn’t have any berries on it.)  Then fold that third toward you onto the second third of the dough, which is covered in raspberries.  Press down gently.  Run the dough scraper or a knife under the second third of the dough to loosen it.  Then fold it over onto the last third of the dough (the third closest to you).  Now your dough will look kind of like a log.

Using your floured rolling pin, gently roll the log into a long, 1″ thick rectangle.  Cut the dough into triangles in one motion using a dough scraper or a big knife.  Transfer the triangles to a couple plates and put them in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.

When the scones are chilled, place them 2″ apart on the baking sheet(s).  Pour 1 Tbsp. of cream into a measuring cup or small bowl and use it to brush each scone with a thin layer of cream.  Then sprinkle each scone with a little sugar–a tablespoon or two divided between all of them.

Bake the scones for 20 minutes or more, until they’re golden brown.  Let them cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before trying to remove them to a rack or serving.

~~~

thunder march smallThunder’s dreamcoat would probably be made out of bacon.

Not a bad choice.