Way back in 1976, my family made its first trip abroad. My father was in the insurance business and had sold a large amount that year, earning a week-long trip to the U.K. We ended up extending the trip for an additional week to include a short visit to Paris.
Even at the tender age of 10 (I turned 11 in London), I was a foodie. Mom bought me a diary for the occasion and I used it primarily to keep track of our meals. We had steak and kidney pie at a luncheon at Rockingham Castle, cold duck a l'orange at a ladies' club in London, and many many cups of English Breakfast tea with cream and sugar, usually accompanied by scones.
Not long after arriving back in the states, Mom and I attempted to make our own scones. "Stones" would have been a more fitting name for the rock-hard biscuits that came out of our oven that day. For a laugh, we put one aside in a Tupperware container to see how long it would stay fresh. Three years later, when we finally tossed it, it seemed unchanged from the day it was baked. I suppose we had over-kneaded the dough, and to this day, I handle my scones as little as possible before they go into the oven.
I felt like having tea instead of coffee one morning this past weekend and started brewing a pot of English Breakfast. Mr Minx was still asleep, so I had plenty of time to bake up a batch of scones. I quickly found a recipe to adapt in the Martha Stewart Cookbook. Rather than rolling and cutting the dough, I patted it into a pan. I also skipped the egg wash. They turned out tender and delicate, with crisp outsides, perfect with a bit of butter and jam.
Blueberry Pecan Scones
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
1/2 to 2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup pecan pieces
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add in blueberries and pecans. Mixing lightly with your fingers, add heavy cream just until dough holds together.
Pat dough into a 8" or 9" square buttered baking pan. Using a sharp knife, divide dough into 9 squares. Bake 15-18 minutes, until browned on top.
Serve with butter or clotted cream and the jam of your choice. I made some easy raspberry jam: empty contents of 1 can raspberries in syrup (Oregon brand) in a saucepan. Stir in one half cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced and syrupy and the fruit is quite thick, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the juice of half a lime. Allow to cool to room temperature and serve with scones. Refrigerate any leftovers in a sealed container.