i wish you could smell my house right now. buttery, floury, sugary, warm – the emanations of scones in the oven. such a heavenly and comforting scent. it makes even our mid-renovation kitchen feel glowy and wholesome and good.
instead of being at work today, my cough/cold germs and i are at home, filling the hours with the kind of non-demanding, pleasure-filled tasks that are normally reserved for weekends and evenings (one of the blessings of being sick, i suppose). my wrists needed a break from crocheting, so my thoughts turned to baking (as they so often do). i didn’t want anything overly sweet. or chocolatey. or involved. then i remembered i had a tub of creme fraiche in the fridge.
creme fraiche is one of the many culinary treasures i encountered (and immediately loved – along with cream tea, egg and cress sandwiches, bakewell tarts, eccles cakes, greengrocers and ribena) when i lived in the UK. i’ve been stumbling over recipe after recipe calling for it lately. sadly, but understandably, it is one of those elusive ingredients that just isn’t stocked in a rural grocery store. when i discovered it gracing the dairy shelf of the nearest ‘big city grocery store’, i was thrilled…until i got home and couldn’t find even one of those oh so promising sounding recipes. does this ever happen to you? it’s a common theme for me. wonton wrappers, walnut oil, asafoetida, harissa paste and, most recently, creme fraiche – they all held such allure at the time of purchase, until i got them home and couldn’t think of one single thing to do with them.
so this afternoon i decided it was necessary to find a use for this tub of creme fraiche and came across a recipe that wooed me right away – the aforementioned blueberry scones. i love a good scone and loathe a bad one. even lashings of butter can’t rescue a dry and flavourless puck of a scone. despite temptation, i didn’t mix in any lemon zest for zing or adorn their tops with coarse sugar – i just dutifully followed the rather plain sounding recipe, and i’m glad i did. i think the creme fraiche gives these a deeper and more unique flavour than your standard cream or milk enriched scone. an IDS approved scone would be thicker and shaped more tidily (i have only myself to blame for the sloppiness), but there is something quaint and pleasing about these simple and flavourful little triangles – they are a perfectly lovely accompaniment to a spoonful of blueberry apple butter and a brit-worthy cuppa on a sniffly afternoon. enjoy!
• • •
blueberry scones (posted by ‘howchow’ on chowhound, 2007)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
blueberries (no measure was given – i used about 3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries – thawed)
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
7.5 oz creme fraiche
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
•stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. blend in butter until it resembles fine meal. in a separate bowl whisk the egg + yolk, creme fraiche and vanilla together. gently stir this and the blueberries into the flour mixture (i did the mixing of the butter into the flour and the wet into the dry in my stand mixer, much like when making pie crust). the dough will be sticky and a little on the wet side.
•bring dough together on a well-floured surface (this is always a clean dish towel for me). with floured hands, divide dough in half. pat each half into a disc about 1/2″ thick/6″ in diameter (i would leave them a little thicker next time). cut each disc into 6 pieces and place pieces 1″ apart on a cookie sheet (i always use parchment). bake at 350°f for 25 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean (mine only needed 20 minutes). serve warm or at room temperature.