It has been a tricky week and I apologise that blogging has been way down my priority list. We are in the midst of a hectic time trying to visit secondary schools with a view to choosing one for my daughter who is now in her final year at primary school. We live in a part of the country which still runs a selective grammar system and this week the results were due. A result of ‘assessed suitable for grammar school’ (we are not allowed to used the terminology ‘passed’) means a greater choice of education, whatever we may think of the system or our ultimate preference of school.
Having seen a number of schools, I am amazed at the vast differences between them…… their strengths and priorities, philosophies, facilities and educational focus. It is not an easy decision. But I am relieved to say that we are fortunate to have been given options…… my beautiful, bright daughter has been assessed as ‘suitable’. Our decision must now be all about giving her every opportunity to be happy in the next stage of her educational journey and to do the best she can…..
When I last posted, it was to tell you about my experience of making butter. The bi-product of the process was some amazing fresh buttermilk. Not wanting to waste it, I used it to make these delicious Blueberry and Lemon Buttermilk Scones, served here with the butter and also my lovely Strawberry, Rhubarb & Pomegranate Jam.
I have made gluten free scones before (plain, cheese, sundried tomato, cheese & basil and also asparagus & stilton) and am really happy with my recipes, but the addition of buttermilk takes them to a whole new level…… fluffier, lighter and with the ability to stay fresh and soft for two to three days (which in GF world is a real bonus).
I remember when I made my first batch of gluten free scones that were soft and actually tasted like scones….. I was ecstatic. It was like I had really achieved big time…. and I had! A decent GF scone is difficult to find. They are either too hard, crumbly or dry…… too ‘white’ and ‘ricey’ or too flavourless….. or simply, they deteriorate soon after they have cooled with no ‘shelf-life’ whatsoever, leaving you eating them as quickly as you can and feeling guilty for the number of calories consumed (not least because all scones are at their best with butter or cream or jam (or all three)).
These scones are an advance on anything I have made previously. The texture and flavour of the base-mix is so scone-like once baked that they would fool the most hardened of wheat-eaters. The list of flours they contain may look daunting, but there is nothing that is difficult to source and the careful balance is worth the extra effort to get the result it yields.
Wanting to make a sweet fruity scone, but not one filled with sultanas and raisins, I decided to go for blueberries with a good hit of complimentary lemon. Rather than use fresh blueberries (I didn’t want to risk anything too ‘wet’) I soaked some dried blueberries for a short while to plump them a little and added these instead. The lemon comes in the form of lemon extract and lemon zest for the same reason.
The scones rise well to make them light and airy, but I stupidly rolled my dough too thin before cutting (choosing not to re-roll so as not to over-work) and didn’t get the height that I hoped for. It made no difference to the structure and texture, which remained fluffy and moist and a perfectly scrumptious treat.
Unlike many GF bakes, these can be scoffed as soon as they leave the oven…. warm, with melted butter….. but they are also divine cold and as they stay amazingly fresh, are ideal to take to work, sandwiched with butter or jam and wrapped for elevenses (although mine only made it as far as ninesies).
The blueberries marry amazingly well with the lemon, providing fruity berry bursts against the tangy lemon and sweet, but not over-sweet crumb. Try them with afternoon tea!
I am sharing my scones with the following :
The No Waste Food Challenge – this month with Veggie Desserts on behalf of Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. These wonderful scones were inspired by and made to use up the buttermilk left after my first butter-making experience.
Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse.
Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.
Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too.
Blueberry & Lemon Buttermilk Scones
milk to glaze
brown sugar to sprinkle
- Preheat the oven to 220 C/(200 fan)/425 F/Gas 7. Line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, weigh and lightly whisk the flours, xanthan gum, salt, almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together to ensure they are well combined and any lumps are broken down.
- Rub the butter into the flour mix with your finger tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar and mix well.
- Add the beaten egg, lemon extract, lemon zest and blueberries and stir well to combine.
- Finally add the buttermilk and stir with a flat knife until the mixture comes together as a wet dough. It will be very sticky, so don’t try to knead it. Leave to stand for about 5 minutes to allow the liquid to absorb.
- Generously sprinkle the work surface with flour (I placed a large sheet of baking paper on the work surface first and sprinkled that).
- Tip the scone dough onto the floured surface, flatten slightly and sprinkle flour on top.
- Roll out the dough so that it is about 4 cm thick.
- Cut the scones into rounds using a 5 cm round cutter and place on the baking sheet.
- Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until risen and golden.
- Place on a wire rack to cool, or serve warm with butter/jam/whipped or clotted cream.