Monday, October 23, 2006

Meyer Lemon Scones

Meyer lemons, as I have mentioned before, are a type of lemon that is actually a hybrid between a tangerine or mandarin orange and a lemon. As a result, the fruit is slightly smaller than your average lemon and significantly sweeter, although it still has a very lemony flavor. Tasting a meyer lemon is more like tasting lemonade - albeit tart lemonade - than a regular lemon, as it lacks some of the bitterness that the ordinary lemons have.
Meyer lemons can be used in the same way as regular lemons, but will often impart a greater lemon flavor, since it does not have to be tempered by extra sugar. This is why meyer lemons work perfectly in these scones. They have a nice fresh lemon flavor that is not aggressive, and they are not very sweet, so you can taste the butteriness that makes scones so delicious in the first place.
The technique for scone making is very easy, since everything goes into one bowl. You do need to practice rubbing the butter into the flour, working it into a coarse, sandy mixture, but you can always cheat by pulsing the mixture in the food processor 5 or 6 times.
These scones are crisp on the outside, soft in the midde and not too dry. The lemon "glaze" must be added when the scones are hot out of the oven so it can set up without softening the "crust" on the top of the scone.
I suggest having a couple extra lemons on hand in case you need extra juice, although you could always try adding in a regular lemon if you have to.

Meyer Lemon Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into 10-12 small pieces
8-10 tbsp fresh meyer lemon juice
1-2 tsp meyer lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few large bits are ok, but most should be smaller than a pea.
Add 5-6 tablespoons of orange juice and zest and stir dought with a fork. Add remaining juice until dough comes together into a not-too-moist ball. Divide dough in to two balls and flatten onto baking sheet to for discs about 1-inch thick. Divide each disc into quarters and separate slightly.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, until scones are a light golden color. A toothpick should come out clean, but color is a reliable indicator for these.
Makes 8.

For the "glaze": Mix together a few tablespoonfuls of white sugar with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to make a paste. Drizzle on scones when hot out of the oven.
Let scones cool before eating.