Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blueberry-Basil Scones

Crunchy on the outside with steamy soft guts, I like my scones flavorful enough that I don't need butter and jam. After all, they're chock full of butter and cream already. This week's basil was growing crazy tall in the planter on my porch, so I pinched off some leaves and tried to think what to do with it. As I started to make blueberry scones, it occurred to me that this was a duo I'd never tried — blueberry and basil. No time like the present.

The basil is subtle and adds a tiny lilt of flavor to the soft crumb of the scones. It's funny to me how the heavier the ingredients, the lighter the scone. These are gushing with whipping cream but melt on your tongue.

Scones, ready for baking

Blueberry-Basil Scones
Makes 8 medium-sized scones or 6 large

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 T cold unsalted butter
10-12 large basil leaves

3/4 cup cream + more for brushing

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

2 T sugar (I use raw here for added texture)
1 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 400º and butter or spray a baking sheet. Set aside.

In a medium size bowl or food processor, mix the dry ingredients down to the butter. If mixing by hand, cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or crumble it with your fingers until everything has the texture of sand. Add in the basil and toss to coat, then pour in the whipping cream. Try form the dough into a ball without overworking or kneading it. Sprinkle the blueberries over top and press them into the dough gently. If too dry to stick together, add more cream; if too wet, add pinch more flour. Press onto the countertop to form a circle about 1" tall. Use a knife to cut into 8 equal triangle-shaped scones. Place each scone onto the baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart.

Brush generously with whipping cream. Using your fingers in a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar together, then sprinkle it over the scones. Bake at 400º for about 20 minutes, turning the tray midway through, until the tops are golden brown and the centers are set. If you wish, you can poke them through with a toothpick.

Let cool 10 minutes before eating.

Cooling a little before I eat one.

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