Sweet Lemon Scones: a delicious variation on a tradition

Scones are a popular British snack of Scottish origin. 

 

Their preparation dates back several hundred years when they were prepared as round, unleavened griddle cakes made of oats, wheat, or barley.   The English later adopted the culinary tradition, and the scone began to play a central role in their beloved high tea.  Other cultures caught on as the introduction of baking soda in the 19th century gave way to the scone’s modern, oven-baked preparation and countless variations.  Recipes can be sweet – prepared with ingredients such as currants, dried cherries, and blueberries – or savory – with anything from Gruyère cheese to mushrooms and bacon.

We love this recipe for lemon scones.  They’re delicious served right out of the oven, and pair well with jam, butter, or traditional clotted cream. You can use a regular lemon or Meyer lemon, which is sweeter, less acidic and has a thinner peel.  Biting into a hot, freshly baked scone, it’s easy to see why this Scottish pastime has become a favorite treat the world over!

INGREDIENTS

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flours, plus more for work surface

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling

¼ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, chilled

grated zest and juice of one lemon (Meyer lemon or regular lemon)

1 large egg

5 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing on scones

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Add butter, lemon juice, and zest, and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, beat together egg and cream.  Add to flour mixture and stir gently until the mixture just comes together.  If your dough seems too dry, add a splash of cream (mixture should not be too sticky).

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Shape it into a 6-inch circle that’s about one inch thick.  Using a large knife, cut the dough into 8 equal wedges.  Transfer the scones onto your prepared baking sheet; lightly brush tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes.

Let the scones cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

Optional variations: add a half cup of blueberries or dried cherries.

Learn more about British culture on our 12-day Best of Britain guided vacation!

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