Brandied Fruit Scones
A great batch of scones requires only a few ingredients, but fast hands are essential for working the flour, cold butter and cream into a firm, substantial dough. Brandied dried fruit is added to this traditional dough, and the result is a holiday treat that carries notes of warming spices and citrus. The dough can be cut and baked immediately, or stored in the freezer and baked to order. Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar before they go into the oven, and you’ll have a batch of scones with perfect crackly tops. These are best served warm with a generous slather of salted butter and a dot of piquant marmalade, but they’ll keep for a day or two if stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Serves: 16 persons
- 3cups/385 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
- ¼cup/50 grams granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling (which is optional, but encouraged)
- 1 ½teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½teaspoons baking powder
- ¼teaspoon baking soda
- ¾cup/170 grams cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1cup/180 grams drained brandied dried fruit
- 1 ¼cups/300 milliliters cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing
Step 1Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Step 2In a medium mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the salt, baking powder and baking soda, and whisk to incorporate. Working quickly, rub the cold butter into the dry mixture using your fingers or a pastry cutter. Cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are the size of small pebbles. (Alternatively, use a food processor to pulse the dry ingredients with the butter, to cut the butter.)
Step 3Add the drained brandied fruit and toss to combine. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Use a wooden spoon to combine until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer the dough to a work surface and press the clumps together enough to form a slightly uniform piece.
Step 4Lift the dough and flour your work surface. Pat or roll the dough out into an 8-inch square. Use a sharp knife or a bench scraper to divide the dough into 16 square pieces. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with heavy cream, and sprinkle with sugar if you like.
Step 5Bake until cooked through and the tops are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.