Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lemon Blueberry & Cardamom Cream Scones

Sometimes things get rough.

I feel like there are not enough hours in the day. I get scared that what I'm doing is not enough. I wish my kitchen was clean right now and there wasn't flour all over my shirt. I kind of just want to eat M&M's and stare at the wall for a few hours.

It's easy to come out of that though. I usually go for a run and let the sun beam on my face. That's the best.

I'll see things as simple as a woman walking down the street wearing neon pink pants with matching sneakers and not a care in the world that she's bright enough to stop traffic. I'll see a little boy fall off his bike and mumble "owww" before getting right back on and riding away...

Then everything comes into perspective and I realize that my problems are really not problems at all and they are seriously petty in the big scheme of things.

I just compared life to a pair of hot pink pants. I did that.

It's only as difficult as you want to make it.

Life is great and it only stays that way if you make the most of it and create experiences - true experiences - from everything you do. Go out. Learn stuff. Go places. See things. Make things. Love things. Share things. Be happy.

And...when life gives me blueberries, I make blueberry scones.

Got any blueberries hangin' around?

Still have some of last summer's pickings hiding away back in the corner of the freezer abyss? 

Do this. Use them. Do it before they lose all they have to offer. Eventually they will have no flavour, no sweetness and be covered with snowy white ice crystals. Don't let that happen.

This is a great way to do it. Although....fresh blueberries would be even better!

Lemon & blueberry are often paired together. I like them like this.

A bit of cardamom makes them extra special.

The thing with using frozen berries is that they can carry a bit more water than their fresh counterparts if they are covered with tiny ice crystals. However, if they are frozen properly you might think "why would they have extra water?".

Well it's not that they contain more water, but it's the fact that the moisture in the berries is released into the dough rather than being enclosed tightly by the skin. During freezing, tiny ice crystals form inevitably within the fruit and these crystals are sharp enough to break or perforate the cell walls of the skin. As the berries defrost while you're mixing them into your dough, their juices leak out into it. This makes it wetter than what the recipe intends to be, and also can dye your dough purple.

So (to summarize my blabber) if you use frozen blueberries, reduce the liquid level in the recipe by about 1 tablespoon.

If you forget to do this, you'll notice that the dough will be rather wet and sticky. Don't ever throw it out - you can still make your scones. Just handle the dough as little as possible. The difference lies in their texture once they're baked. Instead of being flaky, puffed and sky-high, they will be more flat and have a soft, tender crumb. It's not all that bad, just not ideal for a "scone" by definition.


Lemon Blueberry & Cardamom Cream Scones
Makes 8 scones

284 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
50 g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
12 g (1 tbsp) baking powder
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp salt
85 g (6 tbsp) very cold unsalted butter
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
105 ml (1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp) cold 10% half & half cream, plus extra for brushing
1 large chilled egg
4 oz (about ¾ cup) fresh or frozen wild blueberries*
coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Add butter and lemon zest and cut the butter in using a pastry blender or rub it in using your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pea-sized pieces remaining. Place the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm up the butter.

In a measuring cup or a small bowl, beat together cream and egg with a fork until well blended. Gradually pour milk mixture into dry ingredients while tossing gently with a fork. The mixture will be shaggy. Sprinkle in blueberries and then fold mixture just until flour is moistened and dough begins to hold together. Do not over-mix or press too hard because mashing the blueberries will dye the dough purple (especially if using frozen berries). Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and bring it together with your hands until it holds together. Pat it into a circle about 1-inch thick, pressing in loose bits. Use a 2.5-inch round to cut out 8 scones. Smush the scraps together to make the final scone.

Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, brush tops lightly with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  

Bake until golden brown, 16-18 minutes. The scones are cooked through when they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom with your finger. Transfer to wire racks to cool slightly and serve warm.
*if you use frozen blueberries, reduce the amount of cream by 1 tablespoon

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