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Puyallup Fair Scones

14 March 2011

 

I LOVE Scotland. I adore everything about it – the beautiful scenery, the lovely people, the accents, the endearing way the locals say ‘wee’ when they really mean ‘small’ – it all makes me feel incredibly fortunate to live here. It’s a fantastic place to live and attend school and I enjoy every second of my time here, even on very rainy days like today!

As much as I could go on and on about Scotland for hours, at times I miss my home terribly – particularly its flavors. No matter how many times I try to replicate my mum’s fantastic recipes, I never seem to quite hit the mark. I’ve finally come to terms with this reality, and in fact it’s opened my eyes to a bit of culinary experimentation: my new goal is not to spend an undue amount of time and energy trying to recreate the classics, but instead to blend the flavors of my new home with the memories of my old one. This recipe couldn’t be a more perfect fulfillment of that effort.

One piece of culinary wisdom the Scots have mastered better than anyone is the ability to make incredible scones. They even have a town named Scone, home to beautiful Scone Palace and a number of cafes serving up some pretty delicious little biscuits of goodness. But if you’re from Washington, you know it’s darn near impossible to beat the amazing flavor and texture of the original Puyallup Fair Scone. Hot golden outside, soft fluffy inside, melting butter, sweet raspberry jam – the whole thought makes me want to leap on a plane right this second and stand in the queue at the fairgrounds. I’ll restrain myself, however, because I can do better – a homemade Puyallup Fair scone served in the traditional Scottish way – with fresh homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream.

These scones are so ridiculously yummy that you’ll want to eat the entire batch in one sitting (no judgment here!). I don’t personally like my scones with raisins or currants baked inside, but if you do, by all means throw a handful into the dough. I also prefer the airy fluffiness of clotted cream to butter, but if you’re outside Great Britain and can’t get your hands on some, nothing of any flavor significance will be lost from the substitution. The homemade strawberry jam recipe that follows is an incredibly easy, pectin-free version for anyone that has fresh (or frozen) strawberries on hand and wants to have a truly amazing topping to their scone. If you just can’t be bothered to make your own, a store-bought variety of any flavor should be fine as well.

Since I’m waxing poetic about my beloved Scotland today, I decided to pay homage to it during tea time as well, enjoying my scones with my favorite Scottish Breakfast Tea from the Edinburgh Tea & Coffee Company. Best. Teatime. Ever. Enjoy!!

 

PUYALLUP FAIR SCONES

Makes: 8 scones

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

6 tbsp chilled butter, cubed

3/4 cups whole milk

1/2 cup raisins or currants (if omitting, add another 2-3 tbsp whole milk)

 

1.  Sift and measure the flour.

2.  Re-sift flour with baking powder, sugar, and salt.

3.  Work shortening into dry ingredients with fingers until dough is coarsely crumbled. Stop when butter resembles small pea-sized chunks, as overworking the dough changes the texture of the scones.

4.  Add milk to mixture and combine thoroughly.

5.  Turn out dough onto a floured board and divide it into two equal sections.

6.  Roll or pat each into a round and to the thickness of biscuits (3/4- to 1-inch thick).

7.  Cut into wedge-shaped pieces like a pie and bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 15 minutes at 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

8.  Serve immediately out of the oven. Split open but do not cut clear through. Fill with jam and clotted cream, then close.

 

HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY JAM

Makes: 5 cups

2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled

4 cups white sugar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

1.  In a wide bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berries. In a large saucepan, mix together the mashed berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.

2.  Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixtures reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit (105 degrees Celsius). Use a candy thermometer to ensure temperature reading is accurate. Skim and discard foamy layer from the top of the boiled mixture, then transfer to hot sterile jars.

3.  If preserving jam, place in a hot water bath. If for immediate use, simply refrigerate.

 

If unable to determine if jam is of correct consistency for jelling, perform the following test:

Place a small saucer in the freezer for 20 minutes. After approximately 10 minutes of boiling, place a teaspoon of berry mixture onto the chilled saucer. Return plate to freezer for 1 minute. After minute has elapsed, run your finger through the teaspoon of jam. If you are able to make a clean line through the jam with your finger (without the mixture running back together), it is ready to be skimmed and transferred to jars.

 

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