All week long I’ve been dithering about answering Celia’s (@ Fig Jam & Lime Cordial) call for scone posts to celebrate International Scone Week. Normally, I am suspicious of invented “food holidays” – those not steeped in historical tradition or aligned to some religious observance. The blog Foodimentary, which posts a food holiday for every day of the year, indicates that today, August 15th, is the National Lemon Meringue Pie Day. I presume the “national” here applies to the USA, but do not have a clue as to where this particular holiday comes from (although I do like a good lemon meringue pie). It is clear, however, that it has nothing to do with the religious-based tradition that marks August 15th as a national public holiday in many countries worldwide. August 15th is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, called Panagia in Greece, the Ferragosto in Italy, L’Assomption de Marie in France – with attendant traditional foods, feasts and festivals.
I have also found that too many of these invented “food holidays” are simply products of commercialism – like the US National Peanut Board declaring June 12th as National Peanut Butter Cookie Day or October 4th marked as Cinnamon Bun Day in many Scandinavian countries, a tradition invented in 1999 by a Danish sugar company.
That said, International Scone Week is not like these commercial food holidays. True, it was “invented” by three bloggers – Celia, Joanna and Heidi – all writing from and baking on different continents. Three years ago, in 2011, they found themselves in a flurry of scone baking one week late in August. Struck by this coincidence, they declared it International Scone Week. Looking at it, this is exactly what a tradition should be – a sharing of a way of doing things, born out of practice and love of baking, although at this point, it lacks a depth of history. International Scone Week celebrates a wide variety of scones and they have asked like-minded bloggers world wide to participate. So…here is my last minute baking entry.
Lemon & Blueberry Scones
I think these would probably be really good served with lemon curd (in honour of that lemon meringue pie). Fast and easy to make.
- 250g (approximately 9 oz.) plain (all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 75g (2-2/3 oz.) castor sugar
- 110g (approximately 4 oz.) frozen blueberries
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 57g (2 oz., 4 Tablespoons) chilled butter
- 75ml (2-1/2 fluid oz.) milk
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. (220 degrees C.). In a mixing bowl, cut the butter into small pieces. Add the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, and finely chopped lemon zest. Rub the butter into the other ingredients with your hands, or a pastry cutter. This is the same procedure as making a crumble. Stir in the frozen blueberries.
Beat the egg with the milk and gradually add to the butter and flour mixture. You may need more milk if the dough is still crumbly. When the liquid has been incorporated, tip the dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into a flattened shape, about 3/4 inch thick. Using a 7cm circular scone cutter, cut the scones, reshaping the dough and cutting more until the dough is used up.
Place the scones on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and brush a little more milk on top.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Place on a rack to cool.
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Also see my earlier post on bannocks and scones that discusses the history of scones plus my Scottish mother-in-law’s recipe for cheese scones.