Sunday, March 25, 2012

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

With the arrival of Spring, I'm on a citrus kick.  I have three recipes to share with you, and two of them uses Meyer Lemons.  My husband planted a Meyer Lemon tree for me, a few years ago.  I love the beautiful orange color of Meyer lemons and am always looking for ways to enjoy the flavor of these lovely citrus fruits.

Meyer lemons are thought to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin or a common orange; they are a bit sweeter than the more traditional Eureka lemons.They're also pricey to buy! Yikes! Still, they're worth it.

If you've never made scones before, I can assure you that they are very easy to do.  They are virtually fool-proof-- but there are a few important tips that I will share with you.  I was inspired to make these scones when I saw them posted on "Our Best Bites".  My son loves Lemon Poppy Seed Scones, and he used to buy some "pre-fab" scones that are sold in a plastic bucket.  I knew I could make a better version.  I printed the recipe and made a batch in no time at all.

The recipe begins with flour, baking soda, baking powder, lemon zest...and (I would find out too late), some sugar.   I rarely do this, but I forgot the sugar!  More on that later....

Tip #1:  Grate frozen butter.  This is much easier than cutting cold butter, and using a pastry blender. You can use a box grater, a micro-plane (for cutting coarser products...yes, I have an assortment of micro-planes) or your food processor with the grating disc.

Why frozen butter?  Tip #2: Scones puff up better, and have a very tender texture when there are cold chunks of butter (just like making pie crusts).  The butter creates more steam, they bake.  Add the grated butter to the dry ingredients, and use your fingers to toss and combine-- until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Tip #3: Don't overwork the dough!  Don't squeeze the dough... just toss gently.

For the wet ingredients, whisk one egg with the buttermilk.   I wanted to make sure that the lemon flavor would be the star of the show.  I keep pure lemon oil in my refrigerator, for times like this. I suppose lemon extract could work, but I'm a purist.  A little goes a long way, I added 1/4 teaspoon.

Pour the wet ingredients over the crumbly mixture and gently combine with two forks, or I like to use a flat whisk.  You don't want the dough to be "wet", but more "shaggy".  That means, mix until it's wet enough that any loose flour has been incorporated.  Then, stop!

Lightly flour a surface and dump the dough.  Patiently pat the dough... pat, pat, pat.   NOTE: This is the first batch that I made, and I had to add a bit more buttermilk to it.  It did come together better.

Tip #4:  We are not making bread!  Don't be tempted to knead the dough!  Pat, pat, pat.  Trust me, we don't want to work the gluten in the flour, or we'll have hockey pucks for scones.

When I posted recipes for  my Strawberry Scones or Harvest Pumpkin Scones, I show how I shaped the dough into a circle, and then cut them into wedges. 

This time, I wanted to make mini scones, so I shaped the dough so that I cut squares and then cut each one into a triangle.

A bench scraper makes this easier to do.

Spread each scone, evenly, on either parchment paper or a Silpat Mat.
Tip #5:  Freeze the scones. Yes, freeze them for at least 10 minutes.  Tips #1 & 2 explains why this is a good thing.

I set two timers-- one for 15 minutes, and another for 12 minutes. I wanted to be sure that I didn't burn the scones.  At 12 minutes, they weren't golden brown, yet. So 15 minutes did the trick. Look!  Puffy!

While the scones were baking, I made a glaze of powdered sugar, the juice of the zested lemon and 2 Tablespoons of half & half cream.  NOTE: In my first batch, I made a glaze with melted butter, instead of half & half, but found that the butter muted the lemon flavor.  I prefer a glaze that I can easily drizzle over a scone, so add the half & half (or you can use heavy cream or whole milk) a little at a time.    Here's the COOLEST TIP YET:  Balance a cooking rack over your kitchen sink (carefully, obviously)...

That way, when you spoon a glaze, the mess drips right into your sink-- no tray to wash, no parchment paper to waste.

Easy cleanup!

This is the first batch of glaze, made with melted butter instead of half & half.  It's thick, but as I've said, I felt it muted the lemon flavor. It was good, but...

I made a thinner glaze and spooned it over warm scones.  NOTE: I forgot to sift the powdered sugar, for this batch, hence there are clumps of sugar.  Simply esthetic flaws, but the flavor was great.

Once the scones had cooled, I added one more layer of glaze. Perfect!

TASTING NOTES FOR BATCH #1:  As I first mentioned, I forgot to add sugar to my first batch.  However, the thicker glaze saved the day.  I was disappointed, and my son reluctantly said that these were "okay".  Craig, on the other hand, ate them all and said he liked that they weren't sweet.

I couldn't stand it-- I had to make another batch, and tweak the recipe a bit.  I decided to switch sour cream for buttermilk, because I felt that my first batch of scones had a texture that I wasn't crazy about.  This time, I added the sugar, and made the glaze without butter.

TASTING NOTES FOR BATCH #2:   Bingo!  Redemption tastes sweet.  In this case, the sugar made these scones just sweet enough. I loved that the lemon flavor really took center stage.  The scones were tender and I am happy with this version.  That is not to say that Our Best Bites recipes isn't good. It is-- sometimes, a tweak or two is a good thing. In this case, I can say that this recipe is adapted from "Our Best Bites".  Thanks for the inspiration!

By the way, I froze half of my second batch of scones.  The following Saturday, I took them from the freezer into a 400F oven, and they turned out perfectly!  This is a great tip for planning ahead-- or, in my case, not being tempted to eat all of them at once.

A recipe card is at the end of this post.  If you can't "view" the card on this page, please click here.




Pin It


Velva said...

The scones are divine. Citrus is one of my favorite flavors in desserts (cocktails too). Awesome. I just need a good cup of coffee with one of your scones.

Happy Spring!


P.S. Would you mind if I used your photo of the lemons for my Wordless Wednesday post? Credit would go to you, and a link back to your blog. Just let me know.

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust said...

Yum! These look refreshing and beautiful. Love the sink tip!

Valerie said...

Debby, everything looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing the citrus love. :-) (I need to get my hands on some lemon oil!)

Christine said...

Wonderful! Will have to check the avocado tree for some more fruit to trade with my friend who has a Meyer's Lemon tree! Nummy!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I guess you could say I'm always on a citrus kick. Love your scones. They sound delicious.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

How wonderful to have a meyer lemon tree in your yard. I'd be making these scones often too. They look fantastic.

Tara said...

When you subbed the sour cream for the buttermilk, did you use the same amount?

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Tara, yes, I switched the same amount of sour cream for buttermilk.

Joanne said...

I am pretty much a meyer lemon ADDICT so these scones will surely be made soon!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I love scones of all sorts. Something about that buttery, crumbly texture always draws me in.

I occasionally buy meyer lemons when they're available around here, but I haven't come up with anything really fun to do with them yet. This recipe will have to be in my mental Rolodex for the next time I see them in the stores.

Amalia said...

These look so great! I love the combination of lemons and poppy seeds. I've never tried meyer lemons before, but I definitely want to give them a try. I really want to make these tomorrow...with cup of tea, reading a magazine--yes please!! :)

Alessandra said...

Hi Debbie, first time here, what a lovely blog and recipes and images! I am following you now :-).

Come and visit me if you like, I am Italian but I live in New Zealand, you can find me here


Connie loves Carmel said...

I'm totally with you on citrus for Springtime!

And, what a super tip about applying the glaze on a rack over the sink!

Thank you for the recipe and the tip!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I just got my order from Lorann and can't wait to try the citrus flavors. I drop or two of the orange would have helped the chocolate orange mousse I recently tried. Your scones are pastry shop perfect, Debby. I don't think I have ever seen Meyer lemons in my local market. I'll have to check. You are so lucky to have a tree in your back yard.

bellini said...

Besides the addition of meyer lemons I love the addition of poppy seeds to these treats as well Debbie.

Deb said...

Meyer lemons and scones? A perfectly delightful combination! Great instructions as well.

Healthy and Homemade said...

Oh my! I've been on a scone kick, these look heavenly! =D

The other Debbie said...

I loved these scones! They were better latter in the afternoon. Luckily, I was able to share them with others so I didn't have to eat them all! Next time I'll make some lemon curd to go with them. Yum