In the late afternoon, I often fortify myself for the remainder of the day by enjoying a cup of strong tea, along with a sweet of some sort (better than a shot of bourbon, I reason). Tender scones served
with homemade jam and good butter is my favorite teatime fare. I have to admit I don’t make jam or preserves much, but occasionally I get the urge, because it’s so much better than the stuff in the jar
you buy at the supermarket. The scones, made with buttermilk, lemon zest and brown sugar, are very easy to make, as they are mixed up in the food processor before the final addition of
buttermilk is mixed in by hand. Try not to handle the dough too much at this point – it just needs to be kneaded gently a few times to come together before it’s rolled out. The raspberry jam, also flavored with a little lemon zest, is remarkably easy to make. You can even serve it warm, if you like, though it will be more like a sauce than a jam at this point.
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (175 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 g) water
1 1/3 cups (150 g) fresh raspberries
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat until the syrup registers 246°F (120°C) on a candy thermometer. Add the raspberries and lemon zest and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit begins to break down and some of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. (The finished jam should appear looser than a typical jam.) Cool completely.
Brown Sugar Buttermilk Scones
Makes 9 scones
1 1/3 cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons (170 g) cake flour
3 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons (40 g) light brown sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons (85 g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
2/3 to 3/4 cup (160 g to 181 g) buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp water for eggwash
Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, sugar, zest and butter cubes and process until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Add 1/3 cup of the buttermilk and process for a few more seconds, just to mix. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl and form a well in the center. Add another 1/3 cup buttermilk to the center of the well. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gradually stir the flour mixture into the buttermilk, forming a soft dough. If the dough seems dry, you can add up to another 1 ½ tablespoons buttermilk. Knead the dough very lightly just a few times, until it comes together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it out to a thickness of ¾ inch. Cut out rounds from the dough using a 2 ½-inch round cutter and arrange them on the baking sheet. Gently gather up the scraps, reroll, and cut out more rounds. Brush the rounds with eggwash and sprinkle with some Demerara sugar. Bake the scones for 12 to 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Serve warm with butter and jam.