Friday, July 6, 2012

Favorite Things

It is the simple pleasures in life that bring the most satisfaction.  So experience has proven time and again.  For DH and me, one of the life’s simple pleasures is the ritual of afternoon tea.  Whenever we are home together at a time that can be remotely construed as tea time, we stop whatever we are doing and have afternoon tea. In this way we pass a pleasant hour in each other’s company sipping tea, nibbling on scones and catching up.

Tea is a simple event for us.  No fancy china or silver spoons are required.  Just a well brewed pot of tea and something to munch on—preferably scones.  It’s taken us a lifetime to discover these delicately flavored morsels of magnificence.  But, better late than never!  It is no wonder the English have scones with tea, the two compliment each other perfectly. 

To be honest, I was prodded to begin making scones by the disappointment DH experienced every time he purchased a bakery scone.  One bite and his act of optimism was dashed once again.  My foray into scone baking was an act of desperation--I couldn’t bear to see DH repeatedly disappointed.

DH loves Black Currants, and last year planted several bushes in the berry patch.  This week when he returned home with yet another bucket filled with these tasty berries, I decided to combine two of DH’s favorite things—scones and Black Currants.  Yesterday for tea we celebrated the scones by pulling out some teacups and fancy plates and had ourselves a proper tea.  After eating a whopping four, DH deemed the scones a success!

Oh my!  Where has the afternoon gone?  It’s tea time!  Better put the kettle on and get DH.  Today it will be tea on the porch with Bobbie Sue's Swirled Black Currant Scones. 

Notes for this recipe:  A potato masher with a grid base works best for mashing the berries.  The Black Currants will stain the dough indigo—don’t be alarmed!  If you don’t have a ¼ c. scoop, use a ¼ c. solid measuring cup.  Don’t crowd the scones on the cookie sheets—nine per sheet leaves plenty of room for them to spread out and brown nicely.  If batter makes more than 18 scones, just drop them in the larger spaces.

Bobbie Sue’s Rippled Black Currant Scones
Makes about 18 scones

1 c. Black Currants, stemmed and picked over
1 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. water

3 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 c. buttermilk
3 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 375.  Have two cookie sheets handy.

Put the black currants into a small heavy bottomed saucepan.  Use a potato masher to crush the berries.  Add the water and sugar; stir to combine.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries are cooked and the mixture is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Measure the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.  Use a two cup liquid measure the 1.3 c. buttermilk. add the eggs and vanilla and beat lightly to blend.  Set aside.

In another bowl beat the butter until light and creamy, add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until almost blended.  Add the buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed just until combined.   

Scrape the Black Currant filling into the bowl and gently fold in until the dough is rippled.  Do not blend in completely.  Use a ¼ c. scoop to drop the scones onto the cookie sheets.  Dip your hand in flour and gently pat each scone to flatten slightly.

Place the filled sheets into the preheated oven.  Bake for 15 minutes at 375.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the scones are set and slightly golden brown.  

 Remove scones from sheets to wire racks.  Eat warm with plenty of butter or clotted cream or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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