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Want to Share a Cuppa?

Rustic Blueberry Scones

Tea is my caffeinated drink of choice. I drink cups and cups of tea everyday. My favorite is Extra Bergamot Earl Gray from Upton Teas. I’ll have an occasional espresso drink on the run. I don’t really care for plain old coffee, though I’ll sometimes order it in restaurants because the way most restaurants serve tea is abysmal. Don’t even get me started…

In the afternoon (or sometimes mid-morning), a cup of tea wants a little bite to accompany it. I think this is what scones were invented for. I like them just a little bit sweet and crumbly.

I’m constantly trying new scone recipes. My goal is to some day settle on two base recipes, one using cream or milk and the other with buttermilk. That way I can accommodate the current dairy supply in my refrigerator. My choice of mix-ins can always be combined into either dough.

I have a variety of flours in the pantry, most of them from Bob’s Red Mill, leftover from various recipe experiments. A local grocery store (though my least favorite one around) stocks a large inventory his products. I will visit that store for flour.

My recent favorite is buckwheat flour. I’ve been substituting it for some of the regular flour in assorted baked goods. I like the earthy undertone it adds, and the slightly purple color of the end product.

With a recent excess of blueberries, picked next to the dock of our Maine cottage, I had blueberry scones on my mind. Using some buckwheat flour gave my scones the rustic look I had in mind.

When you’re in the neighborhood, you’re always welcome to stop by and join me for a cup of tea, a scone (or two), and a chat!

Cuppa Tea with Scone?

Rustic Blueberry Scones
Makes 15

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
10 Tbsp (1¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut in to ½-inch pieces
1 large egg
6 Tbsp buttermilk
¾ tsp vanilla extract
¾ tsp almond extract
1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Measure the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse corn meal. (You can process about 10 seconds before starting to pulse, if you’re not that patient.). Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add buttermilk and extracts and whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until the flour is incorporated. Add the berries and stir gently to combine.

For each scone, scoop about ¼ cup of dough onto the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. I use an ice cream scoop that’s about this size.

Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Remove from the oven and let them sit for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Then transfer the scones to a rack to cool further, or just eat them warm!

I find that scones freeze well. If I take one from the freezer in the morning, it’s defrosted and ready for a quick toasting in the oven later in the day.

* Note that Bob’s Red Mill is a sponsor of the International Food Blogger Conference that I am attending later this week. In exchange for a discounted rate, I’ve agreed to write some blog posts about the conference and its sponsors. However, I purchased the flour myself and I’ve expressed my honest opinions in this post.

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Berry Bonanza

One of the advantages of traveling up and down the East Coast in summer is the ability to chase the fleeting berry season. We had plenty of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries in July.

It started early in the month when we visited my sister Jane in Maryland. Strawberry season was long over at her house, but we got an early taste of black raspberries which were at peak there. They had buckets and buckets in the fridge. One day for lunch, we made a version of the FFwD recipe for Mozzarella, Tomato, and Berry Salad, substituting black raspberries for the strawberries, and drizzling with some raspberry balsamic vinegar we came across at Lebherz Oil and Vinegar Emporium. Then for the family dinner celebrating my niece Maggie’s 10th birthday, I made this Brown-Butter Raspberry Tart with the black raspberries. It was like a sugar cookie studded with fruit in a pastry crust. Yum!

The following weekend, back in New England, we caught the final weekend of U-Pick strawberries at Chipman Farm in Maine. We picked 17 pounds in the morning and spent the afternoon making three batches of strawberry freezer jam (21 containers). Until next summer, we’ll enjoy strawberry jam stirred into yogurt for breakfast. I also made a no-bake strawberry pie: a graham cracker crust with crushed strawberries cooked with cornstarch and sugar to make a gorgeous glossy jewel-toned filling and some fresh berries stirred in.

Two weeks later, again up in Maine, we made an expedition to Goss Berry Farm to pick raspberries. This is one of Howard’s favorite outings every summer. They have the most organized berry fields we’ve ever seen. It’s a joy to pick there. The blueberries were just starting to be ready, so we decided to pick a couple quarts of blueberries to go with the raspberries. Another round of freezer jam, 21 containers of raspberry and 5 of blueberry, to alternate with the strawberries for yogurt.

Now, the blueberries are peaking. We have one giant bush next to our dock at the lake. They’re not the big plump cultivated berries like we picked at Goss Farm, but they’re not the tiny wild low-bush blueberries either. We’ve already picked a couple quarts, and they’re not over yet. I love July! I wish the season lasted longer.

Strawberry Pie

Graham Cracker Crust, baked (see below)
1 quart strawberries
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp cold water

Hull & wash berries, leaving the best ones whole. Mash about half the berries. Make a paste from the cornstarch, salt, and water. In a medium saucepan, combine mashed berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir in cornstarch paste. Cook over medium heat until thick, smooth, and transparent, stirring constantly. Cool a bit, then, stir in whole berries, saving 8 or so for garnish. Pour into baked pie shell and chill. Garnish with reserved berries. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired. (I prefer it plain.)

You can also make this in a 9-inch pie pan. You can also use a prebaked pastry crust, but I like the graham crackers.

Graham Cracker Crust
1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 crackers)
2 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine crumbs, sugar and butter in a small bowl and mix well. Press mixture evenly over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake in the center of the oven for 8 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.