Last Minute Scone Baking

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_scone

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.

lemon-blueberry_scone_prep1

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

lemon-blueberry_scone_prep2

Place on a rack to cool.

lemon-blueberry_scone_feature

* * *

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.

cheese_scone

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35 comments

    • Well…Happy Anniversary! I’m sensitised to August 15th as we often were in Greece during Panagia celebrations. The scones were delicious. Notice the past tense. They didn’t even last 24 hours!

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  1. I’m sitting here with a cup of tea, but sadly, no scone! I am not a scone maker, and this I blame on my mother, who makes excellent scones and who still does ( she is 91). I don’t like the feel of scone dough, though very happy with bread dough. Mother has never made bread in her life.

    I agree with you on those fabricated food days without history or place.

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    • I think it is the lack of context (i.e. history) that gets me about these fabricated food holidays. You made me chuckle- yes, scone dough is sticky and not at all like bread dough. I’ve only been making scones since I married and was taught by my mother-in-law. You are lucky to have your mother still making them.

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  2. I’m sitting here with a cup of tea, but sadly, no scone! I am not a scone maker, and this I blame on my mother, who makes excellent scones and who still does ( she is 91). I don’t like the feel of scone dough, though very happy with bread dough. Mother has never made bread in her life.
    I agree with you on those fabricated food days without history or place.

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  3. I hate manufactured “weeks” and “days” too, but love family traditions that grow up around certain days and I can include Celia’s scone week in that. I have no blueberries, but I think your delicious looking scones would work with raspberries, so as I have a ready supply of them, shall try it out this weekend.

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    • Celia’s scone week certainly falls into the “family” tradition category and isn’t at all like those manufactured food days/weeks. That was one of my points (which I hope was clear enough). I really like to have a context for these things. I might try raspberries next – sounds like the would work well. I used frozen fruit because I wanted to make sure they held their shape while I mixed the dough.

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  4. Oh my goodness, these look absolutely delicious! I now have so many versions that I want to try as a result of International Scone Week…I couldn’t agree more about the ridiculous profusion of food “days” – for the most part, they have no meaning other than a commercial one which just sends me running the other way. ISW on the other hand is just as it should be – a warm and honest celebration of recipes that started organically and is gathering momentum as time passes!

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    • Amazing how many sweet and savoury scones were made for ISW! I looked up “food days” once and was struck by the sheer number of them – at least one a day (like vitamins) and sometimes more than one a day. Most had no context telling you where they came from, though some were blatantly commercial. You are right, ISW is not like those manufactured food holidays; it has all the hallmarks of a true tradition.

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  5. These look delish, being the daughter of a fabulous scone maker I am continually disappointed with my own efforts…cest la vie…I will just eat Mums and live vicariously through all of you lovely Scone Week bakers.

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    • I didn’t start baking scones until I was in my late 30s. In fact, I had never heard of a scone until them – around the time they were becoming fashionable in cafes in the USA. They are easy to prepare, but require a light hand – something I had to learn or else call them rock cakes.

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  6. Hi Debi, International Scone Week is just fun and I love it. Your scones look lovely. I wonder if you have considered the difference between an English scone, an American biscuit and an American scone. It is my understanding that English scones and American biscuits are the same and American scones are something else.

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    • I’m not sure what an American scone is; it is not traditional, but something that became popular around about the 1980s (or slightly earlier) in the cafe culture – probably as an import from Britain. It is also my impression that American biscuits are subtly different from British scones – similar mixing and baking techniques, but fluffier, usually plain, not sweet and served with savoury meals. Though, the thought did cross my mind that there may be a connection buried somewhere in culinary history. Yes, International Scone Week is fun!

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  7. OH wow. I love scones and make them almost every weekend. These look absolutely delicious. I’ll have to add lemons zest to mine next weekend…and milk. I usually use Greek yogurt. Yours have such a great shape. I usually just rip hunks out of the dough and have them all misshapen. Food holidays are great!

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    • Try shaping them in a bannock (a large round) and then cutting them into wedges before baking. That way they have a nice tidy shape without the bother of a cookie cutter and leftover bits of dough. It’s also traditional! Lemon zest is a great addition to sweet scones. I also do these with poppy seeds in place of the blueberries. Very nice!

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    • Cranberries would be equally delicious. Dried or chopped frozen ones – chopped because they are too big when whole – would do nicely. I had just harvested my early blueberries from the garden and froze them for future use in muffins and the like, so they were to hand. Blueberries and lemon is a great combination!

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  8. Shame i didn’t know about it… I’d love to post and make some scones… I really love them in every way! I love yours, great combination!

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    • They were delicious and from various comments on the post, I got the idea to try lemon & raspberry or even lemon & cranberry. I think they would work well (or even blackberry!). Check out Celia’s blog – she’s posted photos from all the scone entries. There is always next year!

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  9. I wonder if we can lobby someone to get a holiday out of International Scone Week? Hahaha… I always thought we were cocky calling it “Scone Week”, let alone an “International” one, but it’s turned into such huge fun. And I think you’re absolutely right – I’d like lemon curd with one of your scones for breakfast, please.. 🙂

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    • I don’t think you are cheeky at all – call it whatever you like “Great Scone Baking Marathon” or “Scone Fever” – it was fun and I’m glad I had the chance to participate. And, I did eat these for breakfast 🙂 Yummy!

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