As, I’ve probably said a hundred times before, my Dad is a genius in the kitchen. I like to think of him as my own personal Julia Child (he even does a great impression of her while brandishing a rolling pin). So maybe he’s one part genius and several parts goof (there’s a whole other story involving homemade blueberry syrup, a pair of over-alls, and very stainable teeth). So you know that these lemon scones are sure to impress and incite a good bit of giddiness.
My Dad’s recipe calls for regular lemons, which are abundant and inexpensive in Texas thanks to the Rio Grande Valley and a native citrus crop. Up here in New England, citrus is either hard to come by or ridiculously expensive (grapefruit is literally worth its weight in gold). So if you’re going to buy lemons, why not go whole hog and purchase some fancy lemons, like Meyer lemons.
I used to think Meyer lemons were just for the likes of Martha Stewart and Mr. Darcy, but I’ve come to realize that vitamin C is much too important in such wintery times to be reserved for the elites. So I bought a whole bag. This particular variety of lemon is sweeter than most, has a deeper mustard yellow color, and is a much smaller size. The variety was introduced to the US at the turn of the 20th century and originated in China. Supposedly, its a cross-bred variety of a true lemon and a much sweeter mandarin orange. Sweet.
So perhaps these scones are for the lemon-shy or those who simply cannot handle the pucker of sour citrus. No matter where you fall on the citrus-range, these scones are delectable and the easiest scone I’ve ever made. My Dad’s recipe uses the biscuit method which incorporates the dry ingredients and the butter and then the liquids. This creates a flaky, tender scone that pairs just perfectly with hot tea and fresh berries.
Meyer Lemon Scones
(original recipe from Larry Hysmith)
Makes 8 large scones
2 cups flour (I use a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Finely grated rind of one lemon
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 cup confectioner sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon heavy cream (I used coconut milk, I was out of cream!)
1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the lemon rind and toss together.
2. Using your fingertips, two forks, or a pastry cutter, mix the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the cream, egg yolk, and vanilla paste. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquids. Use a wooden spoon to combine all the ingredients, just until the dough holds together. This will take some heavy stirring with the spoon. The dough is more dry than sticky.
4. Scrape the dough onto a flour dusted surface and knead gently three or four times and form a ball. Flatten the ball into a disk about 3/4 of an inch thick. With a sharp knife or a heavy pizza cutter, slice the disk into eight wedges as you would a pie.
5. Transfer the wedges onto a lined baking sheet (a baking stone works great or I use a sil-pat lined baking sheet) leaving at least 1/4 of an inch between them. Brush the tops of the wedges lightly with cream (and sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired). Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown or for about 16-18 minutes.
6. While the scones are baking make the glaze. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth. If necessary, thin the glaze with cold water, no more than 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Pour a drizzle of glaze over each scone while they are still warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container.