The first time I had a scone, I was about thirteen or fourteen years old, and it was from a mix that we bought at a "food lover's market" (Balducci's, for anyone in the DC metropolitan area). They were raspberry scones, which I made with fresh orange juice instead of water. I thought they were delicious. Being Asian, my family didn't eat scones at home, so to me they were a revelation, a discovery. There was something incredibly fragrant about them, and I loved their crumb and their texture. My senior year of high school, my breakfast of choice was raspberry scones that I would buy from coffee shop close to my school. They only cost 95¢, and I think I probably ate one every other day for a while. I still remember sitting in my physics class and relishing each bite.
Somehow though, raspberry scones and I, we stopped seeing each other. We didn't have a fall out exactly, but we grew apart. I went to college at a school that didn't serve raspberry scones, and I never put in time to make them again. I was busy. The years passed. The memory of my love slowly faded.
And then one day last week it all came back to me. I had a bag of freeze dried raspberries in my pantry that I had bought to eat with my yogurt, and I was having a craving for some sweet baked goods. I thought about putting the two together. Suddenly, I remembered raspberry scones in physics class.
This recipe is a very distant cousin of the one at North Fork Table and Inn, but I like my scones to be really fragrant, so I added vanilla, orange zest, and candied ginger, along with raspberries. The ginger is optional, but I really think the combination of vanilla, orange, and raspberries is wonderful. If you don't have freeze-dried raspberries, obviously fresh or frozen fruit works just as well. If you do use freeze-dried fruit, just remember to tuck the dried raspberries into the middle of the scone to prevent them from scorching (as dried fruit will tend to do in the oven if left on top of goods that are baking).
I like my scones served with sweetened whipped butter. It is the perfect breakfast. To make my whipped butter, I just soften one stick of butter, add a generous spoonful of sugar, a little vanilla, and some fine grey sea salt and beat together the ingredients for a good five minutes or so until the butter has lightened to a beautiful white color and is fluffy and and delicious. Anything that isn't eaten immediately can be refrigerated in little ramekins, covered with plastic wrap. This keeps for about five days. To use, just take out of the fridge. You can let it come to room temperature/soften a bit (shouldn't take more than 10 minutes) or you can just use it as is.
Raspberry, Orange Zest, and Ginger Springtime Scones
makes 10-12 scones, depending on how large you shape them
2 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder (preferably one that is aluminum-free)
1 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
12 tbsp (6 ounces) of cold salted butter, cut in small cubes
scant 1 cup milk
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ to 1 cup fruit of your choice (I used freeze-dried raspberries, but fresh fruit can be used too, just use a little less milk)
zest from one orange (optional)
1 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
raw sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375°F.
Place the cubed butter in freezer for 5-10 minutes.
Measure the flour, sugar, baking power, and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the cold butter. Use a pastry cutter or a fork to mix until the butter and flour mixture are the texture of coarse cornmeal.
Flour your hands to prevent sticking.
Add the buttermilk, honey, vanilla extract, and crystallized ginger (if using) and knead gently until the mixture just starts to look like dough (roughly combined). Add the dried fruit and and knead a bit more, until the dough comes together.
Scoop out generous handfuls and pat in roughly fist-sized scones. Sprinkle with coarse sugar (if desired).
Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned.
*note: if you do not use aluminum-free baking powder, your scones may turn blue from the chemical reaction that occurs with acid in the fruit and buttermilk combination