Blackcurrant scones

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Scones are the best. I am not a morning person, but knowing there’s a batch of scones waiting for me makes getting up actually pretty enjoyable. I like my scones buttery, flaky, and only a little bit sweet. These are currently my favorite.

Currant scones are pretty common, and they’re tasty enough. These scones aren’t any of those currant scones you’ve had before. Currant scones are usually made with dried currants, which are… actually raisins. Not currants at all! What a cheat!

Last year I lucked into a large supply of blackcurrants and I’ve been making these scones all winter and eagerly awaiting blackcurrant season so I could share the recipe with you.

Blackcurrants are strongly flavored, wine-y and too tart for most people to eat out of hand. In the oven, they explode into small gooey pockets, like little dabs of blackcurrant jam.

I do realize it’s 87 degrees out. You don’t have to make these now. All you have to do is:

1. Go out and get your hands on some blackcurrants.

2. Measure them out into freezer bags, 3/4 cup of blackcurrants in each bag, and freeze.

3. When you feel like baking again, take out a bag and use it for one recipe of scones.

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This scone recipe is adapted from the fantastically detailed Bread Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum. The original calls for the dried-raisin kind of currants, so I’ve substituted fresh or frozen blackcurrants (frozen actually work better, since they don’t squoosh when you’re rolling out the dough), and I streamlined the recipe a bit because I am not patient.

The scones are delicious, and naturally they go very well with blackcurrant tea.

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Blackcurrant scones

Adapted from Flaky Scones in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum

Makes about 12 scones

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (if you don’t have this, you can use all white flour)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or up to 1/2 cup if you like your scones sweeter)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen black currants

Methods

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the cold butter into 1/4-inch thick slices with a sharp knife.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, and salt.  Add butter, and cut in with a pastry blender until the pieces are about 1/2 inch in diameter. Then, using your fingers, flatten out the butter pieces to large flakes. Mix in the buttermilk or cream just until the flour is moistened and begins to form large clumps. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball.
  4. Flour a counter or tabletop and turn the dough out onto it. Lightly flour the top of the dough and a rolling pin.  Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and about 8 by 12 inches. Arrange the dough rectangle so that, if it was a print job, it would be Landscape, not Portrait.
  5. Place the blackcurrants on the bottom half of the dough. Press in gently. Fold the top half of the dough down over the blackcurrants.
  6. Roll out the dough one final time into a 1/2-inch thick, approximately 4 by 14 inch rectangle.  Make alternating diagonal cuts in order to form triangular scones.  Place scones about 1 inch apart on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (scones will rise, but will not spread).
  7. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until scones are lightly brown at the edges. Check the scones after 10 minutes to see if they are baking evenly, and if not, rotate the baking sheet. When done, transfer and cool on wire racks. The finished scones freeze well, too.