How to Locate Spring in a Hot Oven

Apparently, my nesting instinct isn’t limited to the first cold snap in fall.  That seasonal push always leads to cooking and, often, baking.  The leaves of deciduous trees do not have to be turning color, and there needn’t be a fresh snowfall, although those always result in movement toward the kitchen.

In Portland where rain is the norm, it seems like the transition into spring calls its own advent into question.  The earliest perennials, unbelievably, are pushing through the soaked earth offering the hope of color in the cold, continuous rain.  Very odd, indeed, to one who marks spring on the calendar in late Apr or early May.

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A warm kitchen juxtaposes the wet, chilly outdoors so I fired up the oven.  Currants, organic wheat pastry flour, cherry preserves in the frig… currant scones!

Currant Scones

  • 3/4 C whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 C flour (unbleached white or organic wheat is fine)
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C currants
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, positioning oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

IMAG2003Whisk the milk and 2 eggs in small bowl; set aside.  Cut butter into 1/2″ pieces.  Sift dry ingredients into the bowl of a heavy stand mixer; add butter.  Mix on low speed until pea-sized pieces of butter are visible.  Mix in currants.  Add milk and egg mixture.  Mix on low speed just until combined.  Do not over-mix.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly flour-covered surface, shaping into a disk.  Roll with a rolling pin to 3/4″ thickness.  Cut dough into 2-1/2″ rounds.  Gently reassemble remaining dough and cut into 2-3 additional rounds.

Brush the tops (only) of the scones with the slightly beaten egg; 1 Tbsp of cream or water may be added to thin.IMAG2026

Place scones in preheated oven and immediately reduce the heat to 400 degrees.  Bake for 20 min.  Serve warm or at room temperature with clotted cream or jam.

Usher the beauty of the season, real or imagined, in with the simple celebration of food.

Credit: Edited from Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours 2010; Epicurious Magazine

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