Bring to a rolling boil in a large pot:
4 to 6 quarts water
2 tablespoons salt
Add and cook until tender but firm, 1 to 4...
I often toy with the idea of doing a series here about foods every cook should be able to make at the drop of a hat. I can't tell you how many times I've had to whip up something fabulous in a hurry, and a lot of the basic recipes I've accumulated and the skills I've learned over the years have been godsends to me in those moments.
One of the things I believe about cooking is that there are no absolute rules. There is only the cook in her kitchen, cooking the foods she likes in the way she likes to cook them. There is much ado about the "best" recipe for a specific dish or the right way to do something. I call hooey on that. Cooking is personal. One person's "best" recipe for something may not appeal to someone else.
The recipe I'm giving you today is my favorite scone recipe. The way I like to make them. This is by no means the only good scone recipe out there. However, I like to think it is very good. It's a recipe I've changed little by little over the years. It makes scones that are tender and moist, barely sweet, and a little crusty around the edges.
I make this scone throughout the year with all different kinds of fruit. I've used strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, pears, and more. Feel free to take this recipe and use it with any good, ripe fruit in its season. If the fruit is very juicy and soft, freeze it first, and mix it into the dough without thawing. Add in citrus zests, chopped dark chocolate, candied ginger, spices, or really whatever you want.
This, like the shortbread cookies I recently posted, is one of those beautifully versatile recipes that I love and keep coming back to over and over. It's a good one for your recipe file.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
Combine in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you can use half spelt or whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Add and cut in until the butter is the size of small peas:
1 stick cold butter, cubed
Add and mix until moistened:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
(Zest of one orange)
Add and fold in gently:
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
4 ounces chopped white chocolate
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead very briefly. Shape into a thick round. Cut into eight triangles, transfer to baking sheets, and brush the tops with:
Melted butter or heavy cream
Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.