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Old-Fashioned Lemon Cream Scones

Scones, unlike their biscuit cousins, can be served either warm or at room temperature. They should have a thin, slightly crunchy exterior over a dense, moist and fluffy interior. The cream in the recipe is important for that inside texture; although there's little cream in each serving, milk may be substituted. For a sweet variation, omit the rosemary and add 2/3 cup currants to the dry ingredients, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar before baking.

2 cups flour, unsifted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the rosemary.

In a small bowl or 1-cup measure, whisk together the eggs and cream. Add to the dry mixture and stir until a sticky dough is formed.

Turn out the shaggy dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently just until the dough holds together, about 6 times.

Divide into 2 equal portions and pat each into a 1-inch thick round about 6 inches in diameter. With a knife or straight edge, cut each round into 6 wedges.

Place the scones about 1 inch apart on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until crusty and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. They are best served warm with butter, but they are also delicious at room temperature. Makes 12.

Thursday, September 23, 1999

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