Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wild Blueberry Scones

The path in the woods, where I walk my dog daily, is lined with hundreds, maybe thousands, of blueberry bushes. This year's crop was a bumper one; I guess the blueberries, unlike me, appreciated the cool, rainy weather in June.

I do, however, appreciate the wild blueberries. They're smaller and more tart than commercial berries, perfect for jams, pies and other baked goods. After making a batch of jam and some blueberry pancakes, there were still some berries left over. Not enough to make a pie, so what to do? I saw a recipe in a magazine for blueberry scones and, even though I hardly ever eat scones and have probably made them only once in my life (probably after a trip to England), I decided to try it.

I had a few obstacles: First, my kitchen was undergoing some repairs, which made baking a challenge (although after living in Manhattan I've gained expertise in cooking in tight spaces) and second, I was short some ingredients. The recipe called for buttermilk and even suggested using plain yogurt with a couple tablespoons of milk as a replacement for buttermilk, but I didn't have either and I was too lazy to drop everything and go to the store. Apparently you can also replace buttermilk with two tablespoons of lemon juice and enough milk to make a cup (let sit 5 minutes), but I didn't have lemons. Maybe I should have gone to the store afterall, but I did happen to have sour cream and it work beautifully.

A tougher problem was my lack of parchment paper. I googled "substitute for parchment paper" and found suggestions of wax paper (I didn't have any), silicone baking mats (nope, don't own one) and brown paper bags (but they sometimes catch fire in the oven -- no thanks, and there was some concern about some of the chemicals in the paper -- double no thanks). So, I just greased some tin foil and prayed to the cooking goddess . . . and it worked. The result? Delicious wild blueberry scones.

Wild Blueberry Scones
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold, unsalted butter
cut into small pieces
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup sour cream (or buttermilk)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Cut in cold butter pieces with a pastry cutter (or rub in with fingers) until mixture has the texture of course meal. Stir in blueberries.

3. In separate bowl, mix together sour cream, 1 egg and vanilla; Drizzle over flour mixture and stir lightly with a fork until dough just comes together but some flour remains in bowl.

4. Put dough on work suface and gently knead a couple of times to incorporate flour. Pat dough into 1-inch high round and cut into 12 wedges. transfer to baking sheet. Lightly beat second egg and brush dough wedges with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 22 minutes, until golden and baked through. Cool.

Makes one dozen

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