I think I have developed a thing for scones and biscuits. There is something about how craggy, golden, and rustic they look, feel and taste, that makes me keep coming back to them. They make home feel more like home just by their presence on the table. They may not necessarily be the healthiest of breakfasts, but in all their buttery glory, they add just a little something extra to make the morning special.
A while back, I bought the Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, and in all my excitement for the many recipes in this book, this one jumped out at me first for one reason or another. I don’t know if it’s the curd, or the fact that I saw the word almond extract in the list of ingredients, but I found myself craving for this scone-and-curd combination immediately.
This was my first time making curd, and I am quite certain it won’t be my last. Admittedly, mixing it to a thickness requires some muscle, and I do believe it took me about 20 minutes to get it to the proper consistency. But then I went on ahead for almost half an hour and I do think I overdid it a little bit. I guess I wasn’t sure if I was there yet, this being my first attempt. My curd was slightly thicker and “chunkier” than I would have liked. Next time I should watch out for the point wherein the curd is still smooth, but substantial enough that it falls in the form of a thick flowing ribbon when scooped up with a spoon or a whisk and dropped back into the bowl. Sometimes learning when to stop takes several tries.
Just so you know:
- When is the best time to make this recipe? The scones can be made any day of the week, although the curd may take a little bit of time and patience. I did make my scones a day before I baked them, so I ended up freezing them. They still turned out wonderfully. However, I think the curd is best made a few days ahead to give the flavours more time to come together. The citrus flavour gets more time to come out this way too. And also, be patient while you whisk the mixture for the curd, it might take some time for it to thicken.
- Anything special we should know about before attempting this recipe? Remember to handle the dough carefully, and not to stretch it too much while moving it so that it can rise to its full potential. As for the curd, remember to prepare all your ingredients and equipment before getting started with it, as once left on the heat without mixing, the egg yolks may burn. As soon as you set the bowl of egg yolks onto the pan with simmering water, keep whisking until the mixture reaches the proper curd consistency.
- Did I change anything from this recipe? I did not, and would not. Both recipes are solid, basic recipes. The curd base is open to all sorts of variations, from tangerine to lemon, or even grapefruit! Enjoy! 🙂
- 1 large egg
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- grated zest of 1 tangerine
- 3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh tangerine juice
- 6 Tablespoons (90 grams) cold unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) finely ground almonds (almond meal)
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 6 Tablespoons (90 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tablespoon half cream
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring 1-inch of water to a low simmer.
- 2. In a stainless steel bowl, combine the whole egg, egg yolks, sugar and kosher salt. Whisk to combine. Whisk in the tangerine zest and juice.
- 3. Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and whisk until the eggs are warm and begin to thicken, about 3 minutes.
- 4. Whisk in the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time and continue to whisk constantly until the mixture is thick enough to form a thick, non-dissolving ribbon on the surface when dropped from the whisk, at least 10 minutes.
- 5. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the curd to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 week.
- 6. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 7. In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder and sea salt. Whisk until well-blended.
- 8. Add the butter to the flour mixture, and using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- 9. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream and almond extract. Stir into the dry ingredients until evenly moistened.
- 10. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, form it into a ball, then gently knead a few times until smooth.
- 11. Pat into a disk about 1 inch thick. Cut disk into 12 equal wedges, then place the wedges onto the prepared pan, placing them 2 inches apart.
- 12. To finish: Mix egg yolk with the half cream to make the egg wash. Brush the tops of the scone wedges lightly with the yolk mixture, then sprinkle the wedges with about 1 teaspoon each of sliced almonds.
- 13. Bake the scones until golden brown on the bottoms and lightly golden on the tops, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for a few minutes. Serve warm, with the tangerine curd.
- You can make both the curd and the scones ahead of time. Simply follow the storage instruction provided above for the curd. For the scones, make them until step 11; then with the scones on the baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and pop in the freezer for about an hour. Once the unbaked scones have hardened, transfer them to a ziplock bag and put back into the freezer. The initial freezing helps them to keep their shape. Once ready to bake, you can take out your scones from the freezer while you preheat your oven; simply remember to add a few more minutes to your baking time to make sure the scones are cooked through.