Scone dough is messy. It sticks to sun-warmed countertops and leaves buttery streaks in the bowl. It dusts me with a layer of flour and threatens to leak fruit as I work it.
But scone dough is also restorative. It demands that you to knead it together. It requires that you worry about things like the temperature of butter and the leakiness of blackberries, and it asks you to have hope in the final product. Hope that the floury, purple streaked triangles will emerge risen, golden and perfectly craggy, with grand, sugared tops.
The hope is not misplaced. These scones do emerge with all of those qualities, and they are flaky, puffed up with layers, and have a satisfyingly rustic appearance and flavor. The rye flour is hearty and vaguely nutty and the blackberries wrinkle and drip sweet, tart juice.
These are scones for a morning that is lazy and for a carton that is full of berries. These are scones that start productively in the making and end busily in the eating.
And they are scones that, just for a minute, slow down time. Make them with care. Eat them with a leisurely breakfast, preferably with jam and hopefully with friends. And revel in the taste of the blackberries, of the last days of summer.
Happy scone making!
Yield: 8 scones
Why I love this recipe: rye flour adds a slightly nutty flavor and a beautiful dark color, while using buttermilk and folding the dough ensures that the scones emerge flaky and layered. The blackberries burst and provide sweet/tart flavor in every bite.
Notes: the scones can be frozen for up to a month before baking. They may require a few extra minutes in the oven. Be sure to brush these liberally with egg and sprinkle the sugar on at the end using a heavy hand, as both contribute to gorgeous, golden crusts.
- 1 stick chilled, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cups rye flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups fresh blackberries, washed and patted dry
- 1 cup chilled buttermilk, well shaken
- 1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
- turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- Using your fingers, quickly cut the cold butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
- Stir the buttermilk into the flour-butter mixture with a large wooden spoon or a fork until the dough begins to come together. The flour should not be fully incorporated at this point. Do not overmix.
- Transfer the dough and any loose, floured bits to a floured countertop.
- Quickly knead the dough until it comes fully together, and then flatten it with the palms of your hands into a rectangular, 3/4 inch-thick mound.
- Embed the blackberries on one side of the dough, cutting some in half if they are too big. Roll it up into a log, seam side down.
- Fold the rolled dough in half, give it a quarter turn and then flatten it again. Repeat this process 3 more times.
- Flour your surface once more, and then shape the dough into a 3/4 inch-thick round. Use a bench scraper or a knife to cut the dough into 8 equal triangles. Place the triangles on a rimmed sheet pan.
- Freeze the scones for 10 minutes. When done, brush with the egg yolk and top with turbinado sugar just before baking.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (I baked them for 23 minutes), or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the scones comes out clean.
- Cool the scones on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter, jam or honey.