fat free opinions on a food centric life

Cherry Orange Almond Scones


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Being at Lis’ wedding this past weekend was an amazingly busy swirl of activity focused on obvious preparations, food, getting acquainted, food, 4am bed times, food, and then more food.

Did I say food?

Not much else can be expected from a group of serious foodies, right?  I’m still in awe of the idea that people can meet through the Internet, converse for a year and a half in blog comments, cyber bake sessions, and more than a few phone calls in some cases, then meet — it all seeming surrealistically normal.  Like I’d always known Lis, Helene and John.  The wedding ceremony was tear inducing (I’m a sucker for big guys who are so obviously devoted to their wives), the reception an artfully decorated evening on the shores of stormy Lake Erie, and the cake something I wish I still had a slice or two of hidden deep in the freezer so I might sneak it out when no one was looking and nibble on it, savoring.  Yes, very good times — and wistful, surprisingly.  When you’ve spent so much time together for several days, and are so busy, once you’re gone, you think of all the conversations you might have had — questions you might have asked.

But there’s always next time, right?

In the meantime here’s a bit of tea and scones served up on my wedding dishes.  I’ll imagine that my no longer invisible friends are sitting across the table with me.  The rest of you can pull up a chair as well if you’d like a warm Cherry Orange Almond scone with Devonshire Cream and jam with a hot cup of Assam.

How do you like your tea?

Cherry Orange Almond Scones

1/2 c. orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 c. buttermilk
1 lg. egg
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 c. flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
8 T unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 blanched almonds
1/2 c. dried cherries
1 T orange zest

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Zest a whole orange to measure 1 T, and then juice the orange to measure 1/2 c. juice.  In a small bowl combine juice, buttermilk, egg and extract, whisking until smooth.  In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Drop the butter cubes into the flour mixture and with your fingers, “pinch” the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal.  Add the sugar, almonds, cherries, and orange zest, mixing to incorporate evenly.  Add the liquid mixture to the dry and gently mix with a fork just until moist.

Pour out dough onto a lightly floured surface and with floured hands, give it no more than half a dozen turns.  Make a loose somewhat flattened ball about 8″ in diameter and transfer to a parchment or silicone covered baking pan.  With a bench scraper, cut into 6-8 wedges without moving the pieces from one another.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until medium brown and cooked through.  Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a baking rack to cool completely, or enjoy while still warm with some jam and devonshire cream.

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Notes:

  • Milk or plain yogurt will also work in this recipe if buttermilk isn’t available.
  • Instead of leaving the wedges together to bake in the round, you may separate them, or shape each wedge into a ball and then bake.
  • The cooking time will be dependent on how large the entire round is, so prepare to check it for doneness in the center where it can be doughy even though the outside appears done.
  • Devonshire cream can be purchased in some grocery stores and is somewhere between thick whipped cream and semi-soft butter in consistency.  I believe it is known as clotted cream in the UK.  It isn’t sweet.  Instead, it tastes like unsweetened heavy cream, which has it’s own type of sweetness.  A dollop on a warm bit of scone with a dab of jam is truly tasty if you’re someone who doesn’t like cloyingly sweet breads all the time.
  • Assam is a black tea from India that is a deep mahogany color when brewed.  It’s rich flavor is perfect for these scones and breakfast, even though an official “cream tea” like the one I’ve prepared is usually enjoyed in the afternoon.

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