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Thursday, June 10, 2010

~Buddhahandfull of Blueberry Goodness~ Close-to-home remedy for an exotic sweet tooth

For far out flavors in an equally far out package it's hard to beat the not-quite-so-humble Citron, often found as the Fingered Citron or Buddha Hand.  The unusual shape and strong floral/gingery lemon flavor make this little power packed fruit a great addition to any recipe calling for citrus zest, from cakes and pastry to sausage and meat marinades.  Alas with this unusual, exotic flavor, comes a high ranking in the "hard to find" category.  They can be ordered at often great expense online but to find them in large chain stores is very unlikely.  But have no fear for this is a spice, like many others, with a simple kitchen shorthand...

~Blueberry Citron Buttermilk Scones~
Printable Recipe 

2 C Cake Flour
1 C AP Flour
1/3 C Bakers Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
7 Tablespoons Cold Butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 to 3/4 C Fresh Blueberries
2/3 C Bulgarian (yogurt based) Buttermilk
1 Large Egg + 1 Yolk

1 Teaspoon Citron Zest
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Zest + 1 Pinch Cardamom

SPECIAL TOOLS:  Parchment Paper Lined Baking Sheet
                               AA Large Grain Sugar for topping

Yield - 8 Scones

If I remember correctly, as I was making lemon zest cream cheese filling for danish the scents of the zest and the cardamom spice in the dough started to mingle as they do and so was born my shortcut.  A small amount of cardamom, with its complex floral aroma, can add that little bit of flare necessary to make the difference between lemon zest and citron zest negligible.  The same can be done with any citrus zest or juice so go out and experiment!  Now lets get down to the recipe:
Start by preheating your oven to 425f.  Do it now because the recipe takes almost no time but depending on your oven it may take longer to preheat.  Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.  Add cold butter pieces and cut and press in until you get a crumbly meal with just a few tiny butter pieces.

Add your blueberries and toss gently to evenly distribute them without breaking.  You can substitute almost any kind of fruit at this point just keep in mind things like peaches and large strawberries or most frozen berries can add a LOT of liquid to your recipe.  If you opt to go with any of these, simply reduce the liquid content or add more flour.

In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, whole egg, egg yolk, and citron (or lemon and cardamom).  Make a shallow indent in your dry ingredients and pour in your liquid, being sure to scrape the bowl so you don't loose all your lemon zest.  Mix gently with a rubber spatula (as you would making pie crust or tart dough) until all the liquid is just absorbed.  If the dough is too sticky to knead without too much trouble, add more flour until you have a tacky but not overly sticky dough that will pull away from the sides of the bowl easily.

Turn out to a floured work surface and knead just a few times to bring it together.  Don't be tempted to over knead as this can crush the berries as well as yield tough dough...  no fun for a few reasons.  Since we talked about gluten a few posts ago...


Berry Steam!  Whenever we add whole fruit to a fairly dry recipe, we want to keep them whole for a few important reasons.  First and more obviously we usually prefer nice pockets of moist whole berries, but second and in this case more importantly we DON'T want little pockets of undercooked or overcooked dough and dried out patches of sour berry juice.  When we bake with whole fruit, the liquid inside begins to heat and form steam.  The intact skins are able to hold most of this pressure in where it should remain, giving you little heat sinks that can actually help (in a small way) provide even cooking.
If the berries burst prematurely or go into the heat crushed, the juice escapes into the surrounding drier dough and spreads thin via capillary action (like a paper towel absorbing fluid spills.)  Just as with any liquid, the more spread out the juice becomes and the more surface area it presents to its drier environment the faster it evaporates.  This can give you dried out pockets with little shriveled up berry husks inside.  Crispy!  ...wait...  (Blueberry + Heat)(steam+deliciousness) = SCIENCE!  Good times.


Press out into an 8" disk and dust with a tiny bit of flour.  At this point you can toss the disk, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the fridge to keep for future use.  The pre-made disks will keep, depending on the fruit of course, up to to 3 weeks.  The softer the fruit and the higher the fruit liquid content, the shorter the fridge shelf life.  Cut into 8 equal pieces and place on your parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush with a little bit of buttermilk for a shiny surface then sprinkle with a tiny bit of AA large grain sugar and bake 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack til just warm.

These are a kitchen basic and are quick, hands on and great fun to make.  Kid friendly recipe for sure!  They're also nearly infinitely variable due to the small ingredient list, allowing for almost any combination of fruit, nuts, flavorings, zests, oils...  Whatever you can think of you can probably get away with. Experiment!  Its not proper cooking if you're not enjoying what you're making as much as you enjoy eating the result!



Anonymous said...

I love your blog! I've tried of few of your recipes and they were a huuuge hit with my kids! Especially the scones and caramels. Made some scones from your blog this morning for breakfast. Yummm...Thank you!

Aaron John said...

Your scones look great!! I made scones a week ago with blueberries and it was a complete flop! I think I'm going to try this recipe!! :)
Would you mind checking out my blog? :D

Anonymous said...

What was the fat content of your buttermilk? I think that I've only ever seen low fat buttermilks.

Pastry Ninja said...

The buttermilk I used was Bulgarian buttermilk. It has a slightly higher fat content, higher acidity, and is thicker as it is a yogurt based product fermented at a higher temp. I used it here for the higher fat but it also has a more intense flavor so its great for buttermilk based ice creams too

Four Lease Ranch said...

These look very good. I have some fresh blueberries in my fridge right now that I have been trying to find a use for. Perfect!