OK my friends, I promise, this will be the last blackberry recipe of the season. It’s just that every time I wander into a market to do a bit of grocery shopping, the blackberries are calling my name: “Please, take me home with you!” Of all the summer fruits, I adore blackberries the most. I suspect this is because of the memories of picking them along Hampstead Heath or on other country walks in the British countryside when we were posted there years ago.
I resolve to eat my nostalgia-filled little treasures with a dollop of greek yogurt and a sprinkle of homemade granola, but then they seem to find their way into all sorts of lovely treats instead. Like mojitos, or hand pies, or ice cream… or these gorgeous scones.
My parents wandered into town last week for a visit, and I happen to know dad loves a good scone. (But not heavy, hockey-puck style scones, like those terrible ones to be found in the pastry case of our local Starbucks.) He routinely bikes nearly 20 miles round-trip to indulge in the light, dreamy Oatmeal Raisin Scones at Tony’s Off Third in Naples, Florida. Years ago, I had the opportunity to chat with the sleepy baker of said scones, who had wandered out of his kitchen in search of strong coffee early one morning as I stood in line. He shared the secret to a light, biscuit-like texture: very cold butter, and lots of heavy cream.
I’ve spent years perfecting my basic scone recipe, and admit I can rarely bring myself to start my day with nearly a cup of heavy cream in a recipe. I’ve found over the years half and half works very nicely instead. Though if you don’t mind the calorific splurge, heavy cream is divine…
Here’s another great tip: Pop your berries on a cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes while you mix together the ingredients. This helps the berries keep their shape as they are folded into the batter… and reduces berry-stained streaks in your dough.
This recipe is definitely dad-approved. I think he polished off two of them one morning.
Oh, and dad, thanks again for all the dishes you washed for us last weekend – you’re the greatest!
(Adapted from the Dorset Scones in Shelia Lukins All Around the World Cookbook)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup oat flour (you can make oat flour by pulsing oats in a food processor until they are ground into a powder-like consistency... which should take less than a minute)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top.
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- the grated skin of one lemon
- 1 stick of butter, cut into small pieces
- ¾ cup half and half or heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 1½ cups fresh blackberries
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Pop the berries on a cookie sheet, and place in the freezer while you mix the batter together.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the flour, oat flour, baking powder, 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt, nutmeg and lemon peel.
- Mix to combine, then add the very cold butter.
- Stir this mixture until it resembles course meal (you should still be able to see pea-sized bits of butter.)
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the half and half (or cream) and egg.
- With the mixer on low, slowly pour the milk and cream mixture into the flour mixture until it just begins to come together. Be careful not to over mix the batter.
- Take the berries out of the freezer and carefully fold the berries in by hand.
- Drop heaping tablespoons onto an cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle a generous teaspoon of sugar on the top of each scone.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Serve warm.