Blueberries are in season, and I love to bake with these juicy summer berries, which simply burst with flavor when added to rich scones.
Traditional Irish scones dotted with raisins or sultanas come to mind when I think of fruit scones. However, my Dad tells stories of how my Granny mixed wild hurts (bilberries) and blackcurrants through her soda breads and scones during the summer months.
Scones are deceptively tricky to get exactly right, especially for an Irish baker trying to create her mother’s pastries in America. Over the past twenty years I have created some rules of scone making to help avoid producing dry, sawdust-like scones.
Although not exactly a rule, I like to use cake flour rather than all-purpose or bread flour. This may sound strange to most American bakers, but I simply prefer the end product I produce with cake flour – they are closer to the Irish scones of my childhood.
Irish American Mom’s Tips for Perfect Scones:
- Always sift the flour and baking powder together to provide aeration for lighter scones.
- Treat the mixture with gentle care, lifting the flour high, as you rub in the butter. A soft touch incorporates air and transfers lightness to the scone dough. (When we were children my mother told us to imagine we were faeires baking magic scones. She encouraged us to lift the flour with a faerie light touch.)
- Remember, too much mixing, and kneading will produce dry and tough scones.
- Don’t use too much flour when kneading your dough.
- Avoid pounding the dough with a rolling pin, instead use the palms of your hands to gently press the dough into shape. To level the scones simply pass the rolling pin lightly over the top. (The scone making faeries of my childhood used rolling pins with very gently).
- When cutting out the scones, flour the sides of the cutter. Do not twist the cutter, but push it through the dough firmly, lift and release.
- From the moment the wet ingredients hit the dry, work as quickly as you can.
- Place the scones close together on the baking tray to encourage rising not spreading.
- Never let the uncooked scones stand unbaked. Get them into the oven as quickly as possible since raising agents start their magical work the moment they meet the first drop of liquid.
- A high temperature is required initially to promote rising of the scones.
And so, here is my recipe for blueberry scones. I think this is one of my best scones recipes, and is a wonderful variation of my Irish Raisin Tea Scones recipe. I hope you’ll like them too. Here is the printable recipe:
Wishing you all happy and successful scone baking – and don’t forget the faeries as you lift the butter and flour between your fingers.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom