Secret Breakfast Weapon: Tartine’s Buttermilk Scones

I absolutely love breakfast. And I love hosting even more. Want to host a simple champagne breakfast? Make these scones and you’ll be one fashionable host.

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I’ve been fortunate enough to frequent Tartine bakery in the Mission in San Francisco on numerous occasions. It truly is my favorite place to eat, no matter what time of day. So when I came across Tartine’s cookbook I was overjoyed to try to make her delectables at home.

The first thing I tried was this recipe for lemon currant scones. More than any other pastry, I love scones. The trick is always cutting/mixing the butter with the flour. It is the #1 most important thing you do right to get the right texture. I find most scones at shops too cakey or too dense. These are more like sweet biscuits. Don’t like currants? No problem. This basic buttermilk recipe works fabulously with other tart dried fruit. I added hazelnuts and dried cherries instead. Go wild, here’s the basic.

Tartine’s Buttermilk Scones

makes 12 large scones

4 3/4 cups of flour

3/4 cup of dried currants
(or other tart dried fruit)

1 tablespoon of baking powder

3/4 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 cup of sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 cup (2 sticks) very cold, unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest

Topping: 3 tablespoons of melted butter,
turbinado or demerara sugar for sprinkling.

Tools: A food processor, sifter or whisk, large bowl, wooden spoon, chef’s knife.

Prepare: You’ll want your butter as cold as possible. I like to cut my butter first, then wrap it in plastic and place it in the freezer while I prepare the rest of the ingredients.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Soak the currants in hot water for about 10 minutes or until they are plumped.  Drain well.

3. Sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder into a large bowl. Alternatively use a wisk to aerate vs using a sifter. Add the salt & sugar and combine. Place ingredients into the bowl of a food processor.

4. Cut the butter into small cubes (or removed the cut butter from the freezer) and distribute them on top of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixer to combine, without breaking down the butter too much (you should see pea-sized pieces of butter). Alternatively you can cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter. Make sure you still see LARGE chunks of butter (this is essential to keeping the dough flakey).

5. Pour the mixture into your large bowl. Add the buttermilk, lemon zest and currants all at once, and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together (you may need to add a bit more buttermilk if too dry).

6. Dust a large cutting board with flour and place the dough onto it, shaping it into a long rectangle (about 5” wide, 1 ½” thick, 18” long) without handling it too much.

7. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle with turbinado or demerara sugar. Cut the dough into 12 even-sized triangles and transfer them to your parchment-lined baking sheet.

8. Bake the scones for approximately 25 to 35 minutes (until the tops are lightly browned).  I’ve found that 375F convection for 25 minutes is perfect. However everyone’s oven is different.

9. Serve warm, with lemon curd or jam.

Adapted from the Tartine Cookbook

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