Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meyer Lemon Cranberry Scones

You ever have one of those days where you begin to wonder why you even bothered to get out of bed in the morning? This was one of those days for me.

A few weeks ago I got a letter from my county court system telling me I had jury duty. With the nature of my job I was pretty sure I could get out of it, so I put the letter in my bag and brought it to work so that I could ask someone about it. I managed to get the letter to work, but I promptly forgot the whole thing until a few weeks later when I got a second letter written in very stern language telling me I had to fill out the paperwork and show up at a certain time and place to fulfill my civic duty.

Crap. Since I didn't want to forget about it again I sat right down and filled out the paperwork and wrote a short note explaining (in very general terms) the nature of my job and why I couldn't be called to perform jury duty. On Thursday morning I was getting ready to run some errands when I noticed that there was a message on my home phone. I listened to it and discovered that even though they got my letter and I had not heard back from them, they had expected me to show up on Wednesday morning. And, since they felt that I could still serve jury duty, even if on a very limited capacity due to my job, they expected me to show up Thursday morning at 0800 or they would put me on a failure to appear list. I didn't get the message until 0930 Thursday... double crap.

I called my new boss (he's been in charge of me for 3 days now -- lucky him!) and dumped it all in his lap. While I was waiting to hear back from him I decided to clean the cat litter which was WAY past it's prime. We use a wheat-based clumping litter that can be flushed down the toilet which is supposedly ecologically friendly and such. The problem is that it clumps to the consistency of concrete and sometimes the toilet has trouble with it. This was naturally one of those days and I managed to flood the bathroom. *sigh*

After all that I decided to check at least one more thing off my list and called the doggy-boarding place to make the reservations for the dogs in June when Chris and I go to Oregon for the wedding. It should have been straight forward, but I managed to give them the wrong dates and had to call them back later to get it fixed.


Finally I decided that the rest of my errands could wait for tomorrow because this was turning into a great day to just sit at home and lay low. But of course I couldn't just sit at home and do nothing, especially when I had some meyer lemons sitting in my kitchen rapidly approaching their throw-out date. I already knew the recipe I wanted to use -- the meyer lemon and cranberry scone recipe that I had found on Smitten Kitchen a few weeks ago -- I knew I had everything, and I have made scones dozens of times so I figured it was a pretty safe bet.

Here's where I ran into a problem though... I found the recipe at work and instead of printing a full copy of the recipe I just wrote the ingredient list down, the temperature for the oven, and the source of the recipe. I didn't bother with the instructions since I know the techniques for scones and I wasn't worried about how to put it all together. When I finished with the mixing the dough was wet -- very, very wet, which I found really strange because normally scone dough is very dry. It was so wet that it was an absolute nightmare to pat the dough into a square and cut out the scones.

I went ahead and baked them though and they turned out okay. The flavor is actually great, soft lemon and tart cranberry make a good combination, but the texture doesn't seem very scone-like to me. I expect scones to be firm and dense, not soft and chewy like a great big cup-cake top. With the kind of day I was having I naturally assumed that I must have messed something up royally, but I double checked the recipe on the site and it turns out I had done everything exactly right. And after looking at the pictures on the Deb's site, mine turned out just like hers had. Go figure. It just so happens that those particular scones are really soft and cake-like. So I guess I didn't mess it up after-all, but it still felt like a screw-up after the rest of my day.

As for the jury duty thing -- my boss talked to the lady who had called me and faxed her the paperwork that pretty much gets me out of it. The two of them were going to negotiate when I might actually be able to show up to perform some sort of civic duty just to show good faith. I haven't heard back yet how those negotiations worked out, but I am just going to assume that I will have to give up one of my days off to sit in a courthouse twiddling my thumbs all day.


1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons; preferably Meyer)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons additional
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a vegetable peeler remove the zest from lemons and chop fine, reserving lemons for another use.

In a food processor pulse flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

On a well-floured surface with floured hands pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.

1 comment:

burkie said...

i agree. i had to kinda say to myself, "okay, don't judge it as a scone. judge as something to eat." and as such, it's tasty. i just had a difficult time appreciating it as a scone as it was so soft.