By Angela Denstad Stigeler
The start of the new year provides a natural opportunity for contemplating thyme. Specifically, I’ve been taking time out to ponder the last few years of Thyme Out. From the culinary staples to the food fads, breakfasts through to desserts, it’s pleasing to see the collection of recipes grow to encompass a full set of dishes, from the everyday fare to the exploratory treat.
For the sake of keeping Thyme current, we’ll embark on the fifth year with the following well-loved recipe for classic currant scones. This is the timeless tea-time treat, perfect in its simplicity, quick enough to whip up on a whim and well-appreciated—at any time of the day, or the year.
Classic Cream Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
½ cup dried currants
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¾ cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk for glazing
1 teaspoon granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the currants, tossing until evenly distributed and coated with flour. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two table knives until the largest pieces of butter are about the size of peas.
In a small bowl, stir the cream and egg yolks just to blend. Add this all at once to the flour mixture. Stir with a fork to begin combing the wet and dry ingredients and then use your hands to gently knead the mixture together until all the dry ingredients are absorbed into the dough and it can be gathered into a moist, shaggy ball. Don’t overknead; this dough is sticky but benefits from minimal handling. Set the rough ball in the center of the prepared baking sheet and pat it gently into a round about 1 inch thick and 7 inches in diameter.*
With a sharp knife or a pastry scraper, cut the round into eight wedges; separate the wedges. Brush the scones with the egg-milk glaze (you won’t need to use all of it) and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake until the scones are deep golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a wedge comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Slide the parchment onto a rack and let the scones cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
*Makes 8 large scones. For miniature scones, form the dough into two smaller circles and cut each round into 8 wedges.