Raisin Scones To Move By

August 16th, 2009  |  25 Comments


Disclaimer: If you’re a landlord, you may want to shield your eyes from the next paragraph.

Scott and I, being apartment renters, were able to squeeze some benefit out of the current economic recession. Much to our delight, apartment prices in the New York area have dropped just enough to make relocating worthwhile. I admit I wasn’t eager to pack up my long forgotten Long Johns but rationalized that it was all worth it, as I shoved another shoe tree into a box. If the savings could afford us an extra dinner out here and there, then move I would.

Obviously, it didn’t make sense to buy groceries when most of my kitchenware was already stashed, but I also wasn’t willing to pay $7 for a breakfast sandwich on the way to work. So I dug out a bowl and a sheet pan and mixed up this quick batch of scones to bake and freeze. Every morning we pulled a couple of these out, let them defrost on the counter while we got ready, and warmed them for 30 seconds in the microwave. Then we made a picnic on top of the stacked boxes, with a side of  jam and coffee. At first glance it may seem we were living like paupers, but rest assured, those mornings we were kings. These scones made us feel like luxury was in the air. We’d sit there, asses on cardboard, breaking off flaky, buttery bites, and leisurely sipping our drinks with pinkies high up in the air.


In a way these scones ARE related to luxury. It so happens, when I was employed by a lovely 4-star hotel on the Upper East Side, we’d serve them to the ladies-who-tea (when they are not ladies-who-lunch). Tea service was quite popular. Each afternoon, the dining room buzzed with very prim, well-coiffed, pulled to perfection, leg-crossing, Chanel wearing ladies and they adored (say this word with a shrill) the scones. Sometimes they’d break all protocol, and, gasp!, ask for a few more. Carbs be damned!

I say, if these scones are good enough for the crowd that has everything, they are certainly good enough for me.

About Tools (man, do I love kitchen tools!)
I find it hard to bake without getting my hands into the dough, especially when not using electrical helpers, like Kitchenaids, but when making doughs where the butter needs to stay cold (other than this scone dough, pie doughs, tart doughs), it’s best to not touch the dough for as long as possible. The heat of the hands melts the butter that much faster. In those instances I find it helpful to cut the butter in with a pastry cutter first. Something like this:

Pastry Cutter with Comfort Grip

And if you notice the photo where I cut up the scone dough, I used a butter knife, but would have preferred:

Bench Scraper – Soft grip

I searched high and low for in the mess of boxes,. It cuts doughs perfectly, and scrapes dough off a table, but for the life of me couldn’t find it. Somewhere…

Raisin Scones
makes 12 generous scones

4 1/3 cups (620g) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (56g) sugar
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (38g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (5 g) salt
1 1/2 sticks (170 g) butter, cut up into small pieces and kept cold
2 cups (473 mL) heavy cream (Yes, heavy cream. Don’t argue. It’s worth it.)
1 cup raisins (I like golden)

For the egg wash: 
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Here are the main players:



2. Grab a large bowl, and throw in flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.



Stir it up.



3. Toss in the bits of butter and cut in using a handy-dandy pastry cutter.



Cut it into the flour until it’s looks coarse and shaggy. Most of the butter should be rice sized but a few pea-sized bits remain. These butter pieces get trapped in the dough and create flaky layers when they melt away in the oven.



4. Pour in the heavy cream…



… and start working into the dough.



5. Because I try to avoid overmixing a dough wherever possible, I add the raisins when it’s only partially together.



As usual, it’s easier to work it together with your hands. Knead the shaggy mess, grabbing the pieces that fall to the bottom of the bowl.





All ready.



6. On a lightly floured surface, shape your dough into a rectangle, about 1.5″ high.



I cut them into 12 pieces, as evenly as my shaky, hungover hand would allow. (Here’s where I wish I had that pastry cutter.)



7. Make the egg wash: grab a small bowl, and crack the egg into it. Add the milk. Whisk it up with a fork.



8. Lay the scones out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and brush each one with the egg wash.



This makes the scones purdy and golden.



Sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top. Or not.



9. Bake in that preheated 400 degree oven. Mine took about 27 minutes. Could take 25-35 minutes.



As I always say, don’t go by time, go by look, feel and color. Are the tops deeply golden? Are the bottoms browned? Lift one up with a kitchen towel and look at the butt.


All baked and coolin’.

Raisin Scones
makes 12 generous scones

4 1/3 cups (620g) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (56g) sugar
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (38g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (11 g) salt
1 1/2 sticks (170 g) butter, cut up into small pieces and kept cold
2 cups (473 mL) heavy cream (Yes, heavy cream. Don’t argue. It’s worth it.)
1 cup raisins (I like golden)

For the egg wash: 
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Cut in the butter until mix looks coarse, like instant oatmeal yet still has rice-size bits of butter visible. 
4. Pour in the heavy cream and stir up the dough. You may have to give it a few kneads with your hands until it all comes together. Work the raisins into the dough as you knead.
5.  On a lightly floured surface. shape your dough into a rectangle about 1.5 inches high.
6. Cut into 12 even pieces and lay them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. 
7. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk to make an egg wash. Brush over each scone. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if desired.
8. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the tops are deeply golden and the undersides are completely golden, too. Let cool, then break out the tea!

25 Responses to “Raisin Scones To Move By”

  1. Thats very interesting about the rental prices in NY! Here on the Southern gulf coast they’ve gone up!!! It’s hard to believe considering the current economic situation across the country!
    These scones look sooooo perfect!!! Much better than any 7$ breakfast sandwich! :)

  2. Bunny says:

    I LOVE all that butter and cream!! I have only ever tried one scone recipe and all I could taste was baking powder. I must have done something horribly wrong cause yours looks mouth watering! I love your pictures! I hope it doesn’t take you too long to get unpacked and settled in. What a pain in the rear that is. Good Luck with the move!

  3. Mia says:

    Yum! I love scones, and raisins, though simple, are my favorite.

  4. Jean Hwang says:

    U deserve a “Wow”…. I just love your blog, it is very beautiful and professional..cheers!

  5. Jane says:

    YUM . . . those are beautiful scones! I want to reach into the computer screen and take one to have with my coffee right this minute.

    Your photos are something to aspire to. Love them!

    Jane :)

  6. Jamie says:

    I love scones – as does hubby – and these are stunning! I love feeling the dough with my hands, too!

  7. Joyce Siew says:

    I swear you can be my new baking teacher :D! LOVE your blog…thanks a bunch for the great pics & info! Wish u had twitter, so that i can follow ur updates though……

  8. PastryPal says:

    Hi Joyce, Thanks so much! I’m methodically getting through a TO DO list, which includes getting on Twitter as well as the confounding PRINT button mentioned above. All in due time. :)

  9. Vincent says:

    Oh wow… they look so good. I never made scones using that many heavy cream but I will definitely try it out next time I make them (hopefully this week!). I think you also convinced me to buy a pastry cutter (I’ve been cutting my pastry using a wire whisk). Good luck with the moves!

  10. Tracy says:

    Lured to your site by the lovely strawberry ice cream photo at thekitchn.com.

    And now that I’m here, I’ve been browsing through more loveliness and haven’t come across anything I don’t want to make immediately — I’m simultaneously relieved and disappointed that your blog is only two months old.

    Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos and recipes!

  11. Vincent says:

    Hi Irina, I tried it out earlier this week and the scones turned out delicious. Thank you for the recipe and input!

  12. PastryPal says:

    Vincent, I’m so glad you liked them!

  13. Mrs Ergül says:

    These are lovely. And I might very well give up my go-to scone recipe for this. May I know what effect does milk have in the egg wash? Thanks!

  14. PastryPal says:

    Mrs. Ergul: Milk has natural sugars, and like all sugars in the oven, they brown, helping achieve a pretty color.

  15. Isabel says:

    Hello from Portugal :)
    The recipe came out delicious. Best scones I ever made… I think the heavy cream and the mixing made all the difference. Thank you so much for sharing this one and congrats on your website!

  16. Mrs Ergül says:

    Hi! It is me again! I have made this and they rose ever so beautifully. And they do taste vastly different from my usual scone recipes. I was going through the recipe again and did a metric conversion and 4 1/3 cups flour came up to 430 grams. But indicated in the recipe is 620 grams. And I’m wondering which one I should go with if I were to do this again. Thanks!

  17. PastryPal says:

    Hi Mrs. Ergul — So glad you tried these out! I weighed out the flour again, and still got 620g. I did not presift the flour and it may be that it’s packed tighter. I would stick with the weight measure if you try these again.

  18. Isabel says:

    So a year ago I made this wonder recipe for the very first time. It was a wonderful discovery! Until I found these scones I would only have coffee for breakfast and a couple water cookies, because I had’t find any food or bread that I would feel like eating right after waking up. So now I make them twice a week, a 1/2 recipe at a time. Also with the time I’ve tryed some alterations to the original recipe and I got to a perfect lower fat version of the scones for my family, that everyone loves, so I thought I would share it here:
    310grs all purpose flour; 70gr sugar; a block of fresh yeast; 80grs (good quality) butter (40% fat) previously frozen and then quickly chopped; raisins choped for more flavour; 250ml heavy cream; no eggwash.
    Directions: dissolve yeast in the sugar in a bowl, add the heavy cream and stir until all perfectly mixed and bubbling. mix flour with the butter, add raisins, drop the previous mix.
    build 11 or 12 scones in the shape of a tall cone with with dry flour so it won’t get flat while cooking due to the low fat butter and keep fresh and won’t dry out with the flour cover.
    oven to to max (220F), around 10-15 minutes in the middle position. they keep fresh for 3 days. perfect morning and teatime bread! Thanks again PastryPal.

  19. PastryPal says:

    Isabel — Thanks for sharing your recipe, a year in the making. I’m guessing with the yeast, it becomes more like a breakfast bread. I love these types of recipe evolutions.

  20. Sally says:

    I made your scones for our Royal Wedding breakfast this morning (very early this morning!!). They were perfect. We didn’t have clotted cream (I didn’t plan this out in time to get any), but they were great with fresh whipped cream and strawberry jam. Other English friends were very impressed with them and thought they were very English tasting (US scones tend to be much sweeter than these). Thank you very much. I discovered your blog last night while looking for a scone recipe and I love it!! =)

  21. PastryPal says:

    Sally, sounds so decadent with whipped cream, and so appropriate for the very English occasion :). Welcome to the blog and thank you for trying this recipe.

  22. Michelle says:

    I just want to tell you that your writing is a delight, you are so funny and I’m just having a blast reading through all your posts – while learning things at the same time!

    Keep up this excellent site, I just love it.


  23. Michelle says:

    Also, if there is one thing I can make, it’s scones :) I find that if I use a cheese grater to grate in the butter then I don’t need to do any of the rubbing (I HATE that part). So I just grate in my cold butter and hey presto – awesome scones every time.

  24. Mary says:

    Hi Pastry Pal,
    I love your website, the photos make it all so easy. I just made your Raisin Scones, the recipe is very similar to a bisquit recipe that I have been using for years, except that my recipe calls for milk instead of cream. I was excited to follow your recipe because lately I have been having a problem making my own recipe. Unfortunately I have the same problem with your recipe, please help! I don’t know what I am doing wrong, I used to make my biscuits all the time and they were perfect. Now, with my recipe and your recipe when I make them they look and taste great but they crumble. You can’t cut them in half, when you cut them the entire scone breaks into bite size pieces. What ingredient gives them the binding? Can you tell me what I might be doing that would cause this? I live in a humid climate could there be too much moisture in my flour? Thanks for such a great website, I can’t wait to explore it and try new recipes. Mary

  25. Nivedita says:

    I made this, ate it and forgot to thank you for the wonderful recipe. This was many many months back, maybe last year and the taste is still unforgettable. I am craving for these again and thought of visiting your site for the instructions. Thanks for the recipe dear.

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