Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Best-Ever Flaky Scones and Homemade Lemon Curd...

I've adored scones since my days back in the Kraft Kitchens. I've been making my own over the years yielding soft cake-like cream scones and we just love them here for occasional weekend brunch. But not until I recently came across Baker and Scone scones beckoning to me at a nearby Pusateri's... I've tried their lemon and black currant (my favourite scone combo), fresh blueberry vanilla and triple berry vanilla... the superior texture and flakiness have completely ruined me for just any ol' scones FOREVER... Tall, brown-golden, crunchy, layered and slightly chewy-- they are so-O eyes-rolled-back incredible!! Instead of ogling and drooling by the sidelines, I just had to know how to recreate these. My search led me to Baker and Scone owner-- lovely Sandra Katsiou-Baker, a Chef I worked with back in the day at Dish Cooking Studio. The key in the super flakiness is super cold butter and folding the dough as many times possible to trap the bits of butter and create the multi-layers without over-handling. Here is a video on how she does it. Vowing to get to scone heaven, I tried my hands on Sandra's basic scone recipe and I have to say it is the Best-Ever-- although I could have baked them another minute longer to get that golden brown crunchy crust (I think I got too excited when I saw the tall flaky results)-- but that's what leftovers are for :)! Coupled with a homemade rich lemon curd, I think I seriously died and went to heaven!

Basic Best-Ever Flaky Scones and Homemade Lemon Curd

Sandra Katsiou-Baker, owner of Baker and Scone

Watch Sandra's Folding Technique to Yield Tall Flaky Scones

Basic Best-Ever Flaky Scones (Baker and Scone recipe)
Makes 16 scones

3-¼ cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter (chill in freezer for 10-15 minutes)
1/2 cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup half and half cream
1/3 cup buttermilk (make your own by mixing 1/3 cup milk and 1 Tbsp. white vinegar)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 lemon, zested
turbinado sugar for sprinkling
serve with lemon curd (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 415F. Combine in a large bowl - flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Zest lemon directly into bowl. Stir with a whisk to evenly incorporate. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture. Toss in the butter well.

Mix cream and buttermilk together, and add vanilla. Add the cream mixture to flour mixture and knead very gently just until dough holds together. Pat out onto counter dusted with flour and fold over, then gently knead and repeat a few times. Cut into half, then each into 8s, and place spaced on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 16-18 minutes. TIP: For a crustier top crust, bake for an extra minute to brown-golden.

The process of folding and kneading out gently creates multi-layers that leads to super flakiness.

Oh my, can I say these are the most gorgeous batch of scones ever coming out of my kitchen-- 
next time I will give it an extra minute or so to brown tops! 

To me, how can you have a batch of basic scones without lemon curd!! This homemade recipe is super easy and creates such a luscious perky lemon filling with just the right balanced sweetness, it's impossible to resist! They are perfect little jars to gift and can be refrigerated up to five days.

Homemade Lemon Curd (adapted from Chatelaine)
Makes about 2 cups

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 cup lemon juice (juice from about 3-4 lemons)

Beat sugar with butter, eggs, yolks and salt in a medium saucepan with an electric mixer on high, until creamy, about one minute. Beat in lemon juice. (Mixture may curdle but will smooth out during cooking.) 
Set saucepan over medium-high. Cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened and smooth and coats the back of a spoon, three to five minutes. 

Serve scones with warm lemon curd as a topping or filling. 
Store leftover curd in sealed jars and refrigerate for up to five days.

Perfect for breakfast, brunch and with afternoon tea.

For a softer texture scone, try my Lemon Currant Cream Scones.

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