If you like the tingle of tartness tickling your mouth, then I highly recommend these cranberry scones accompanied with lemon curd.
Back in December, I purchased a HUGE bag of cranberries. I thought they might work well in the fruit smoothies I make (yes, they do, but a small handful offers quite a tang). The bag turned out to contain waaaaaay too many cranberries, so I dried a bunch in my dehydrator to lengthen their life span. Still tons of cranberries hanging around that needed use, though…until I discovered this cranberry scone recipe. What a gem of a recipe: easy to whip up, tinglingly tart snippets in every bite, and adaptable to freezing for later use. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the significant scrumptious factor!
I’ve made them a couple of times already. I’ve sprinkled the tops with table sugar, chunky sugar used for decorating cookies, and turbinado sugar. All delightfully sweet, but the turbinado provided the biggest crunch and greatest amount of extra sweet sprinkling. I also tried them with no sugar sprinkles. Still delish. The sugar sprinkles do add a pretty sparkle to the scones, though, so go ahead if you want a bit of bling to jazz up your creation.
With the tart cranberries in the scone, this version lends itself well to a healthy spread of lemon curd. Mmmmmmmm, even more tingly tart in each bite! Surprisingly, lemon curd is super easy to make, and thanks to a recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog, I’ve whipped up a couple batches already as well–also thanks to the lemon tree in our backyard that produces plentiful fruit.
The second time I made these scones, as I mixed the dough, I felt a sudden urge to toss in some chopped pecans. The final product had a heartier flavor than without the nuts. Ultimately, I like both versions…just depends on my mood and how hearty or light I want the scones to taste.
Obviously I’ve made these twice in a short amount of time. You can bet I’ll bake up a few more batches, at least!
- 1½ tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup plus 3 tbsp. sugar, divided
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1¼ cups fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- optional: 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- additional sugar for sprinkling (table sugar or turbinado sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a food processor, combine the lemon zest, flour, ½ cup of sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse briefly to blend. Add in the cold butter pieces and briefly pulse again until the mixture resembles coarse meal and the butter pieces are no larger than peas. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Note: A food processor is not required for this recipe. You can achieve the same result using a stand mixer, a pastry blender, or even just two knives.
- In a small bowl, toss together the chopped cranberries and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir this into the flour-butter mixture. If using pecans, toss them into the mixture, too.
- In another small bowl or a liquid measuring cup, combine the egg, egg yolk and heavy cream; whisk to blend. Add the liquid ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir gently with a spatula or wooden spoon just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Knead gently to be sure the dough is evenly mixed (it will be sticky), being careful not to overwork the dough.
- Shaping the scones: You can shape the dough into one large disc about 1-inch high and slice into triangular wedges, roll it out to a 1-inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter, use a dough scoop and simply make drop scones, etc. On a sheet of parchment paper, I formed a large disc about 1-inch thick and 8 inches in diameter. Because the dough is so sticky, I used a bit of flour on my hands to make handling the disc easier. Lightly sprinkle with sugar at this point. I then popped the disc into the freezer for about 20 minutes so I could cut wedges more easily. At this point, I carefully broke loose the wedges I wanted to bake. The rest traveled back to the freezer for flash freezing, meaning they remained there until frozen. Then, I individually wrapped each scone in plastic, followed by placing them in a Ziploc bag and back into the freezer, ready to use when the urge for a sweet scone hits.
- Bake in the preheated oven until light golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. (If baking from the freezer, add approximately 5 minutes to the original baking time.)
Yield: 8-10 scones
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
- Place a mesh strainer over a bowl; set aside.
- In medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, lemon juice, egg yolks, eggs, and salt.
- Add butter cubes and set pan over low heat, whisking constantly until butter melts.
- Increase heat to medium; whisk constantly, until mixture thickens and just begins to become jelly-like. It’s done when you lift the whisk and the mixture holds its shape when it falls back into the saucepan from the whisk.
- Immediately press the curd through the strainer. Once strained, store the lemon curd in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to one week.
Lemon curd can be spread on toast or crumpets, used as a cake filling, and you can make a tangy lemon cream to serve alongside gingerbread by folding in an equal amount of whipped cream.
SOURCES: scones: adapted from Annie’s Eats; lemon curd: David Lebovitz