Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scones!  (Who else's but Alice's Tea Cup?)

Alice's Tea Cup, hands down, serves the best scones in NYC.  I took my sister and niece there during Thanksgiving week, when they came here for a visit from California.  I had, for the second time in just a week, Alice's Tea Cup's pumpkin scones.  A moist little pocket of perfection.

What I didn't try then was the mixed berry scone, which I most definitely will on my next foray there.   But first - I thought I would try my hand at making them!  

The recipe calls for 4 kinds of berries: blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry.  Not being a fan of blackberries, I simply substituted in more blueberries and strawberries.  To add the berries into the mixture, you can puree them in a blender and incorporate into the batter, or simply combine them in whole (with the exception of the strawberries, which are cut into quarters).  I love the burst of fruit when biting into any kind of baked fruit treat, so I opted for the latter.

Here are a few scone-making tips I learned along the way this morning:

Scones don't require very much working counter space.  What they do need, though, is a well-floured surface (not excessively, but just so) to lightly pat down the dough before cutting out the scones.  I found the perfect baking tool to assist me: a non-slip pastry mat.  Lay it down on your countertop, flour it, and work away!  The one I bought on Amazon was large enough (18"x24") that not a sprinkle of flour even got onto my countertop.  It makes clean-up *nearly* enjoyable.  Brilliant. 

pastry mat

Also, once you're ready to cut out the scones, roll out the dough first into a ball.  That helps to pat it down into an *even* disc.  This being only the second time I've made a scone, I learned the hard way.  I gathered the dough mixture from the bowl in my hands, and (gently) plopped it down onto the mat.  The result: a bit of a gooey mess with very uneven edges.

a gooey mess
And finally, I learned that with a bit of patience and a lot of enthusiasm, a novice's scones can come out looking *and* tasting great.  Not quite like they make it at Alice's Tea Cup, but delicious, nonetheless.

The recipe can be found in "Alice's Tea Cup: Delectable Recipes for Scones, Cakes, Sandwiches, and More from New York's Most Whimsical Tea Spot," by Haley Fox & Lauren Fox, available on amazon.

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