Lemon-glazed Lemon Scones
Isn’t it amazing that you can have known someone almost your whole entire life and not realized that he/she has a strong food dislike? While traveling with my brother a few weeks ago, I discovered that he doesn’t particularly like lemon, which is one of my favorite tastes.
What’s even more interesting, at least to me, is that I found out about a year ago that my father also doesn’t like lemon. I guess that explains why my mother never made Lemon Meringue Pie when I was growing up. This wasn’t something that I pondered over, but it sort of explained those missing lemon-oriented things, like Lemon Bars, that we never had around the house.
It’s even odder then, that this is one of my favorite flavors. Maybe that comes from a [ahem] “game” my other brother and I used to play as kids when we all went out to eat. [Mom, maybe you should turn away now.]
I come from a large family, well, at least large enough that when we would go out to eat at mid-level restaurants in the 70’s that we’d have to split into two groups. Now, being the two oldest, my other brother and I and at least one other sibling would be seated together, at a table separate from our parents – bad move on their part. Don’t ask me why, but there almost always seemed to be a dish of sliced lemons at the table along with those brown plastic glasses of ice water.
Please don’t ask me which one of us came up with this idea, but I blame it for my being able to handle an extreme level of tartness even today. The “game” was to take a lemon slice and suck out all the juice. The first person to succumb to the acidity and pucker was the loser. I can’t even remember who won or lost more; it was just something that we did to kill time before our food arrived.
The beauty of this game was that it was one of those that was so quietly and stealthily carried out that we never got busted for it and no one ended up bleeding at the end – a rarity as those of you who grew up in large families will appreciate. Hmmm….wonder if we can still manage to carry that off.
Lemon-Glazed Lemon Scones
Prep Time: 30 minutes, with baking
Serves: makes about 20 3-inch scones
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
grated zest of one lemon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
3 teaspoons lemon juice
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C, Gas Mark 6). For easier clean-up, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or removable sheet such as a Silpat®.
Combine the dry ingredients first in a large bowl (flours, baking powder, salt). Add lemon zest and lightly toss to incorporate. [If desired, you can make this with white flour only, but I think that the whole wheat gives it a bit more texture.]
Add butter cubes and cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles lentils or BBs and all the butter is covered in flour. A pastry cutter like that shown below does the job very well, as does a fork.
In a small bowl, beat the egg with the lemon juice and milk. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and lightly mix together with a wooden spoon until the batter just holds together. Be careful not to over-mix.
This is a batter to be handled with a light touch. I usually stop using a spoon to pull everything together just at the point where it seems sticky, and then I roll up my sleeves and start to knead the dough lightly while it is still in the bowl to pick up the last of the dry ingredients.
Then, turn out the mixture onto a floured work surface and kneed about 10 more times. Roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch thick circle to cut the scones. In the photo, you’ll see that I made large and small scones. Not having a biscuit cutter handy, I used a wineglass (sorry, Riedel) which worked fine as well. Flour the cutter before each use to keep it from sticking to the dough.
If you prefer to make one large scone to cut into triangles, roll out the dough into a 1/2-inch thick circle and lightly score triangles into the dough. After baking the scone, you will cut through the scoring to separate the individual sections.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. While the scones are baking, whisk together the additional lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar to make a glaze.
Remove scones from oven and place on wire rack. While they are still warm (so that they will absorb the topping), brush the top of each scone with 1-2 coats of the lemon-and-sugar glaze.
Serve with butter and/or clotted cream and jam.