Remember that little basket of blackberries that came from Nanoose Bay? I managed to hold a few back to bake into scones this morning. Yes, I thought it was a good idea too.
Any fresh (or frozen – don’t thaw them) berry would work here – blackberries are probably the most fragile, coming apart into their individual drupelets as you stir them into thick batter – but I love them, and that they remind me of our years living in Vancouver, where blackberries were free for the picking everywhere. I looked forward to those late August days of blackberry hunting like almost no other, and would suit up in long sleeves (I’d have worn chain mail if I had access to some) and gardening gloves with their fingertips cut off, and drag Mike along with pails, although he was nowhere near as enthusiastic as I. So I don’t mind their frailty – swaths of purple are most welcome in my scones. I did try to add them gingerly, tipping them in, then stirring only once or twice with my spatula, then gathering up spoonfuls with the help of my fingers to drop onto the buttered baking sheets. They don’t have to be all the way inside – as long as they’re hanging on, the dough will bake around them a bit. They look good that way, too.
Lemon Blackberry Drop Scones
You don’t need lemon for these – they’d be as delicious without – we just happened to have a lemon sitting on the countertop that needed using before we leave tomorrow.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
grated zest of a lemon (optional)
1 large egg
3/4 cup (ish) milk
a big handful of berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, huckleberries…)
coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat oven to 425F. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and blend it with a fork, whisk, pastry blender or your fingers (or do it all in the food processor, if you have one), leaving some lumps no bigger than a pea.
Crack the egg into a measuring cup and add milk to make it a cup. Stir it together with a fork and add to the flour mixture; stir with a spatula until just barely combined. Add the berries and stir a couple more times, then drop the sticky dough in large spoonfuls onto a buttered or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar, if you like.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or less if you made small scones, until golden. Makes 6 good-sized scones.