Scone Heaven

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Blueberry and lemon strike again! First, let’s talk about texture. One word, perfect. Even as leftovers, they were so good. Traditional scones like these are usually too dense or just too hard when encountered in the wild (i.e. – pot lucks, the church bazaar or at your Aunt Ethel’s). They should be tender but hold their structure well enough to pick up and eat. The fact that these beauties are also packed with blueberries and flavored with lemon make them the equivalent of encountering a friggin’ white tiger when you’re not at a Siegfried and Roy show. What makes these unique is the light, flaky texture…much like a croissant. These scones were a lot of fun to make. They were a little labor intensive, but I (Megan) enjoyed the process. Nathan would have murdered the person who came up with the process in this recipe.  The way you get this texture is by grating the butter. I know, it sounds exhausting, but well worth it my friends, well worth it. As with any pastry the time and care you put into how carefully you work the dough will pay big dividends in the texture of the finished product. Go the extra mile, trust us (just don’t make Nathan do it). Also,  more blueberries, always add more blueberries. There is nothing as disappointing as not encountering enough blueberries in something purporting to contain blueberries, and no one needs that kind of disappointment in the morning.

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Don’t be afraid to let your scones brown a little. Underdone scones do not work and the brown edges and points give them some visual texture. It is ok for something to visually acknowledge that it’s been in an oven, really. Last bit of advise, save some extra scones for yourself, you’ll want them.

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Blueberry Lemon Scones
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 scones
 
Ingredients
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), frozen whole (see note above)
  • 1½ cups fresh blueberries (about 7½ oz), picked over or frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surface
  • ½ cup sugar (3½ ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 425. Score and remove ½ of wrapper from frozen butter. Grate unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater (total of 8 T). Put grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 T of remaining butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 T butter for another use. Put blueberries in freezer til needed.
  2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in med bowl; chill til needed. Whisk flour, ½ c sugar, BP, BS, salt, & zest in med bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers til coated.
  3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula till just combined. Transfer to liberally floured work surface. Dust dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  4. Roll dough into approximate 12" square. Fold dough into ⅓ like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends and fold into ⅓'s again to form approximate 4" square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 min.
  5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12" square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are embedded in dough. Using bench scraper, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12" by 4" rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to baking sheet.
  6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 min. On wire rack cool 10 min. Make Ahead: Put scones on baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. To bake, for refrigerated, heat oven to 425 & follow step 6. For frozen, heat oven 375 & bake 25 - 30 min.

 

Summertime

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Summer is finally here. Which means it’s time to prepare for the White Pine County Fair. First up, the lemon blueberry bundt cake. This is a fantastic recipe we love to make. It’s like a blueberry muffin in cake form. It has a beautiful crispy crust, soft middle, and the perfect blueberry swirl (or so they say. but we’ll get to that later). You will not be disappointed with this cake. This recipe is a bit labor intensive, but absolutely worth it!

We had a couple hangups with the cake this time around.  The inside of the cake was a hot mess.

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See what I mean?

The recipe says to use a butter knife to swirl the filling into the cake, but that didn’t turn out so well. Next time, we are going to try a skewer for better results (and as Nathan is suggesting, maybe more swirling and less mixing, just a thought). You are going for a marbled look.

Once the filling was made and sat for a minute it became extremely gelatinous, in fact it was more than gelatinous. Whatever the stage just past gelatinous is. Was the filling on the heat too long? Was the heat too high? Did we use the wrong pectin? Who knows. Hopefully there are some jam and jelly gurus who would be willing to chime in. We’ll try again at any rate. The cake was, nonetheless, delicious, but not how it was supposed to turn out. In fact we’ve had a few disasters with this cake and no matter how iffy it looks it is absolutely worth eating the whole thing in one sitting.

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This was before the gelatinous mess. Love those colors!

We are trying to find the perfect way to top the cake. We tried a lemon glaze, cinnamon whipped cream, and lemon whipped cream. The lemon glaze, which is just lemon juice and powdered sugar is always good, but seemed a little heavy with this cake. The cinnamon whipped cream was good, but the cake overpowered the cinnamon flavor. The winner was the lemon flavored whipped cream. It was the perfect complement to the texture of the cake and a delicious fresh flavor. We added one drop of yellow food coloring, which was the perfect finishing touch.

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Let us know how this cake turns out for you! And if you discover the secret to marbling the filling.

Marbled Blueberry Bundt Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cake
 
Ingredients
  • Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest + 3 TBSP juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 yolk (room temperature)
  • 2¼ sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Filling
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 TBSP low or no sugar needed fruit pectin
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 oz fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest + 1 TBSP juice
Instructions
  1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Heavily spray bundt pan with baking spray with flour. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Gently whisk eggs and egg yolk to combine in third bowl.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat butter and sugar on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to medium and beat in half of the eggs until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with remaining eggs, scraping down the bowl after incorporating. Reduce speed to low and add one-third of the flour mixture. Repeat using half of the flour mixture and all of the remaining buttermilk mixture. Scrape down bowl, add remaining flour mixture , and mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside while preparing the filling.
  3. For the filling: Whisk sugar, pectin, and salt together in a small saucepan. Process blueberries in blender until mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer ¼ c puree and lemon zest to saucepan with sugar mixture and stir to combine. Heat sugar-blueberry mixture over medium heat until just simmering, about 3 minutes. Add remaining puree and lemon juice to cooled mixture and whisk to combine. Let sit until slightly set, about 8 minutes.
  4. Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Using back of the spoon, create a ½ inch deep channel in the center of batter. Spoon half of the filling into channel. Using butter knife or small offset spatula, thoroughly swirl filling batter (there should be no large pockets of filling remaining). Repeat swirling step with remaining batter and filling.
  5. Bake until top is golden brown and skewer in center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the cake directly onto the wire rack. Let cool.

 

 

 

 

The very best combination

Blueberries and lemon. They get me every single time. I mean really. Some combinations are just meant to be and let me be clear here, there is NOTHING better than chocolate but lemon and blueberries are a very close second. While I’ve made many blueberry pies (and even received a first place ribbon at the county fair, but no one is bragging [except me]). We mounted this attack on the blueberry pie as a practice run prior to the holiday of all holidays, Thanksgiving.

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This filling recipe comes out of the Better Home and Gardens New Cook Book. They have a neat table that simply outlines the recommended amount of flour and sugar for different kinds of berries and fruit. I find it very handy. I usually add a couple of teaspoons of lemon zest to my berry pies (and their blueberry pie recipe has lemon zest in it). To bump up the lemony flavor in this pie, we also did a lemon whipped cream to top our individual slices.

Frozen fruit should be allowed to thaw slightly before you incorporate everything. This usually takes less then an hour. Mix all of your thickener (flour) and sweetener (sugar) and lemon zest together in a separate bowl and when the berries are ready toss it all together. If you’re using frozen berries the added benefit is that the moisture collects on the partially thawed berries and evenly distributes the flour/ sugar mixture when you combine it with the berries.

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Don’t fill the bottom crust until you have the top crust rolled out and ready to go, so the filling doesn’t sit in the unbaked crust too long. The goal is to not have a soggy and saturated bottom crust. I usually sprinkle a little flour (1 or two spoonfuls) in the bottom of the pie crust prior to putting the filling to soak up any errant juices in an effort to keep the bottom pie crust from getting soggy.

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After you’ve wrestled both of the crusts out flat and filled the bottom crust you really are in the home stretch.

Make sure to press and roll the seam of the top and bottom crusts together. Or I know some people have good results wetting (lightly) and pressing the seam together. Whatever your method the point is to make sure you have a solid seam. Otherwise the crusts can separate when baking and juices leak out and make a mess. You want your pie to be fortress of flavor!

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I just use a standard thumb and finger pattern on the my pies, but feel free to get fancy.

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Make sure to cut some vents in the top.

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The way your pies look should be consistent and unique to you (so everybody knows whose it is). One of my favorite pie things is to have a maker’s mark. This is a unique design that you put on pies that you have made. I’ve seen a star, half circle designs, etc….. Personally, mine is the outline of the state of Nevada! I know, it’s really great.

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Once you get the hang of making pies they really aren’t too bad to make (easy as pie!…… anyone…. no?) There are few things people find more impressive then a delicious and well made pie. Prepare to impress and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They’re only ingredients.

These pies were for our respective Thanksgiving parties. But that wasn’t going to do. So we made a smaller pie we could devour that night.

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