Raisin scones

March 16, 2011

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Makes 10

The secret to these simple, flaky scones, says John Buscemi, is a hot oven and minimal handling of the dough.

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening (or 1/4 cup shortening and 4 tablespoons unsalted butter), cut up
1/3 cup dark raisins
3/4 cup cold milk
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
Extra milk (for brushing)

1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Have on hand a 2 1/2-inch plain round cutter or glass and a baking sheet.

2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar, if using. With a pastry blender, work the mixture to blend it.

3. Add the shortening (or shortening and butter) and work it into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal.

4. With a rubber spatula, stir in the raisins, then the milk all at once. Stir just to incorporate the liquid. Do not overmix.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead it gently once or twice, just until it holds together. The dough should be soft, not sticky. If it is too wet, quickly work in a bit more flour. Pat (do not roll) dough out into a round about 1/2-inch thick.

6. Using a cutter or glass, cut out the scones and transfer them to the baking sheet. Gather up the remaining scraps, pat them out, and cut more rounds. Repeat until the dough is all used and you have about 10 scones. With a pastry brush, brush the tops with milk.

7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Adapted from John Buscemi.