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 a lunch), I baked scones, using my absolute 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, dried fruits, nuts, citrus zest… This time I decided to fold dried blueberries and lemon zest into half of the batter, to very good results. The lemon zest came from a little jar of ready-made roasted and toasted lemon zest I bought a little while ago at Lafayette Gourmet, which I conveniently keep in the fridge for all my lemon zest needs.
I baked the scones in the morning, and put them back in the oven for a few minutes to reheat before serving. We had them with butter and a selection of jams, carefully chosen among the rather unreasonable collection of sweet spreads that live in a dedicated drawer of our kitchen, to my delight and Maxence’s despair.
– 215 grams (1 2/3 cup) flour
– 30 grams (2 rounded tablespoons) sugar
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– a good pinch salt
– 30 grams (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled
– 125 ml (1/2 cup) plain yogurt
– 2 tablespoons milk
– 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped nuts or dried fruits, or 1 teaspoon citrus zest, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 2 teaspoons orange flower water, or the flavoring of your choice (optional)
(Yields 8 small scones)
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 with a fork or pastry cutter, until no visible lump of butter remains. Add the yogurt, milk, and whatever flavoring ingredient you want to use, and blend them in until the dough forms a ball. Handle the dough as lightly as you can. Avoid overmixing, or the scones won’t be as tender.
Pat the dough into a flattish round, about 3 cm (a little over an inch) in thickness, and cut into eight wedges with a knife or a pastry cutter (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 clotted cream, butter, jam, honey, nut butter, apple butter, maple syrup…