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Apricot Cream Scones

Here’s a favorite scone recipe that I’m pulling forward from the first year of my blog.  This one features dried apricots in place of the more traditional currants.  The slightly tart bursts of apricot are a wonderful addition to the rich, tender cream scone.  I hope you enjoy this blast from the past, which was originally published on December 13, 2006.

While staying with my aunt and uncle, I made several batches of scones in a quest to create a new recipe.  The first batch was wonderful and buttery, but almost more like shortbread than a scone.  They quickly disappeared along with the homemade meyer lemon curd.  Some others I tried were lemon buttermilk, lemon currant, and apricot cream.  Although they were all pretty good, these apricot cream scones were by far my favorite.

The first time I ate a scone was in London.  I was 14 years old and my high school English teacher had organized a trip to England for students.  I was lucky enough to have a grandmother who felt it was an experience I shouldn’t miss and she helped to send me.  I have many fond memories of that trip but very few that are food related.  I mostly remember breakfasts of extremely sour orange juice and rolls hard so hard they could damage teeth.  There were also fast food lunches and warm sodas served without ice.  But I do have a few good food memories as well.  My very first experience with fish and chips, for example.  Salt and vinegar potato chips is another.  But the best thing I remember eating in England all those years ago is a scone that I ordered from a street vendor.  I don’t know whether it was the taste of the scone or the inch-thick layer of butter squeezed between the two pieces, but it was love at first bite.

Scones have definitely been gaining in popularity in the states over the last several years.  Just pop into any corner coffee shop and you’re sure to find quite a selection.  But my favorite place to eat scones (other than in my own kitchen), is the Cup and Saucer Cafe in Portland, OR.  It’s been years since I’ve lived in Portland but I still crave the breakfasts served in that cramped little cafe with the mismatched tables and chairs and the line of people out the door.  They serve fresh-baked scones with many of their breakfast choices and each table comes with a squeeze bottle filled with raspberry jam.  It’s heaven.

Apricot Cream Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
heavy cream for brushing
coarse ground sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, cream and vanilla; set aside.
4. Rub butter mixture into the flour mixture with your fingers (or use a pastry blender) until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the apricot pieces.
5. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture all at once and stir until moistened (The mixture should hold together when pinched).
6. Dump the mixture out onto the counter, gather all the pieces together with your hands and press everything together to form a rough ball. Pat it into a circle, about 3/4 inch thick.
7. Cut the circle like a pie into 8 pieces and place pieces onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
8. Brush scones with a little cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
9. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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