Without intending it, it seems I’ve embarked on a mission to find the perfect scone recipe in the last few weeks. I’ve shared a few here that I’m very happy with (here, here, here and here) but I think it never hurts to find a new favorite, right? On a recent weekend stay in Napa Valley, my friend and I sampled a few scones. Not surprisingly, we tasted more bad than good versions. “Best” is a matter of opinion but my friend and I agreed that the version we tasted at French Blue in St. Helena would be a strong contender.
So what would be the perfect scone for you? I like a crisp, textured exterior and a mildy crumbly, flaky interior. Most store-bought versions are often too doughy or too dry. When America’s Test Kitchen shared their recipe for cream scones on my Facebook feed recently I was inspired to give it a try. The last scone recipe I tried a few months ago (not ATK) was an utter failure so I was apprehensive about this one. I did take a few liberties with the recipe: I added a smidge more sugar (something I never do), incorporated persimmons and cinnamon to the dough and brushed the tops with milk and sprinkled with sugar. I also chilled the dough before cutting it into wedges to make handling them easier.
The verdict? These were wonderful right out of the oven (or toasted the next day). They weren’t as flaky or crumbly inside as I would have liked but they were nicely moist and not too bread-y. My addition of turbinado sugar really added a lot to the overall texture of these scones and lent just the right amount of sweetness. I wasn’t sure how persimmons would fare in this recipe but I have to say that their delicate flavor and texture weren’t lost in these scones. The cinnamon also played well with the overall recipe. In short, the taste was spot on. I brought the rest of the batch to the office after eating three the same day and they received rave reviews. How would I describe these scones in two words? Fall perfect.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra
- 3 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter chilled, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 cup half-n-half or cream plus more for brushing
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup persimmon peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 persimmons)
- turbinado sugar for sprinkling over scones
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Using your food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and pulse about 6 times until the dry ingredients are combined. Add diced butter pieces to the mixture and pulse until you have a coarse cornmeal texture, 12-15 pulses.
Add the diced persimmon and pulse just once to combine. Transfer the dough to a large bowl and stir in the half-n-half (or cream) with a spatula until a dough begins to form, about 20-30 seconds.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour and transfer your dough onto it. Knead the dough until you have a rough, slightly sticky ball, just a few seconds (I rub flour on hands to make this task easier).
Line a 9-inch pan with plastic wrap and press the dough evenly to the edges. (Note: To make the dough easier to handle when transferring the wedges onto a baking sheet I like to chill it for 10-15 minutes but this is optional.) Unmold the dough and cut it into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on a baking sheet, brush the tops with half-n-half and sprinkle liberally with turbinado sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are crisp and cracked. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack before serving.
Prep time includes 10-15 minutes chill time for the dough.