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Rituals in the making, or Raisin scones


Our first Christmas together as a freshly married couple was, self-consciously or not, a time of establishing rituals. Will we really have bliny with mushroom caviar every Christmas Eve? Well, the raisin scones on Christmas morning are certainly here to stay. Flattening in the oven to resemble cookies more than scones, with delightfully crisp edges and a tender crumb, this recipe from a wedding-present cookbook (The Cheese Board) was a winner, and easy-peasy to whip up between opening presents.

Here too I had a bit of yield confusion, ending up with 24 rather than the promised 10 to 12, but neither I nor David nor his office mates were complaining. Still, if baking for two I'd halve or even quarter the recipe next time, as they were certainly at their finest on the morning of their making.

Raisin scones (very lightly adapted from The Cheese Board)

  • 3.5 C (420 g) all-purpose flour (I use Type 550)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C (150 g) sugar (I used organic raw cane sugar)
  • 1 C (226 g) cold butter sliced thinly
  • 1 C (150 g) raisins
  • 3/4 C (180 g) heavy cream
  • 3/4 C (180 g) buttermilk
  • 3 T (38 g) sugar mixed with a generous dash of cinnamon for the topping

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C, gas mark 4 in Germany). In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the butter and cut in with two butter knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the raisins, then mix in the cream and buttermilk. Shape the dough into two-inch balls and place two inches apart on a lined baking tray (I used a silicon mat). Sprinkle on the topping and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Leave the scones on the tray for a minute or two, then transfer them to a rack to cool.


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