We had friends over for brunch on Sunday. Maxence went out in the morning to the charcuterie shop, cheese shop, and bakery, and came back with an basketload of ready-to-eat goodies — bone-in ham and duck terrine and eggs in aspic and cheese and freshly baked bread — that we served with a simple salad topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.
And for the sweet part of the brunch (there must be a sweet part to a brunch, otherwise it’s just lunch), I baked scones, using my favorite recipe, which is simple and quick, and calls for ingredients I always have on hand.
These scones are delicious plain, but you can add whichever flavoring you like:
- spices, such as vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom…
- dried fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, or raisins (if using larger fruits such as apricots or figs, dice finely)
- nuts, finely chopped, such as almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts…
- citrus zest, freshly and finely grated
- orange flower water, not too much for a subtle, non-soapy flavor
- chopped or grated chocolate
This time I folded roasted lemon zest powder into the batter, to very good results.
I baked the scones earlier that morning, and put them back in the oven for a few minutes to reheat before serving. I served them with butter and a selection of jams, carefully chosen among the rather unreasonable collection of sweet spreads that live in a dedicated drawer in our kitchen, to my delight and Maxence’s despair.
- 215 grams (1 2/3 cup) flour
- 25 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 55 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) plain yogurt (not fat-free)
- 3 tablespoons milk (not fat-free)
- 2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground spice of your choice
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped dried fruits
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped nuts
- 1 teaspoon finely grated citrus zest
- 2 teaspoons orange flower water
- 3 tablespoons chopped or grated chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Dice the butter and blend it into the dry ingredients using a fork or pastry cutter, until no visible lump of butter remains.
- Stir in the yogurt, 2 tablespoons milk, and whatever flavoring ingredient you want to use.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead gently 5 to 7 times to form a ball. Handle the dough as lightly as you can and avoid overmixing, or the scones will be tough.
- Pat the dough into a round, about 3 cm (a little over an inch) in thickness.
- Brush the top with the remaining tablespoon milk, sprinkle with sugar, and slice into eight wedges with a knife (alternatively, use a cookie cutter to make eight neat rounds).
- Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet, giving them a little space to expand.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until the top of the scones is set and lightly golden.
- Serve warm, with an assortment of spreads, such as butter, clotted cream, jam, honey, nut butter, apple butter, maple syrup...