Scones that taste like a spring garden? There’s lemon, cardamom, nutty pistachio, rose water for a floral accent (it’s not very strong if you’re wary!) and there is something wonderful about all these coming together to make a nuanced, deeply flavorful (otherwise mundane) scone!
This recipe is adapted from my orange almond scones and the flavors are inspired by Yasmin Khan’s Persian Love Cake.
You might note I’ve increased the heavy cream and reduced the butter for this recipe compared to the orange or blueberry almond scones; I find it makes for a lighter scone overall and the dough easier to work with.
Flour: All purpose flour, I use King Arthur. I think any ap flour would be fine here so don’t worry too much about protein content. White lily makes for a really flaky scone but it’s not absolutely necessary. Don’t use bread or cake flour! If you want to make these gluten free opt for a gf substitute flour.
Almond meal: You can use almond ‘flour’ instead of the ‘meal’ (I was out by the time I got to my final version of the recipe) and there won’t be too much of a difference although you won’t have the speckles you see in my photos. If you want to skip this for a nut allergy entirely, I suggest making a different scone base (like these babka scones) and doing the rest of the flavors as is.
Cardamom: Ground cardamom, not the pods! I only use a bit but you can add more if you love cardamom.
Lemon: One large lemon or two small ones will suffice. You’ll zest them straight into the dry ingredients and save them to squeeze out the juice later for the glaze.
Rosewater: We’re not using too much so it’s not going to be overly scented but it does add absolutely wonderful floral (if subtle) flavor to the glaze. There’s some in the dough too but you can’t detect it really.
Toppings: Khan does a mix of dried rose petals and green pistachios on her cake so I’ve kept that on my scones (it’s really lovely and I’m happy with any excuse to use pistachios!) but if you have neither you can just zest another lemon over the glaze, before it sets!
Whisk together the dry ingredients: just measure everything straight into the bowl (this is the bowl you’ll be forming the dough in) and then whisk it until it’s well-mixed.
Whisk together wet ingredients: Separately, you’ll mix together the egg, heavy cream and extracts. Give this a good beating, we want to break up that egg before it goes into the dough.
Cut in cold butter: when it comes to scones (or pie crust!) mise en place is not it. Keep that butter nice and cold (sometimes I slice mine then place it in the freezer before i start the dough) and then ‘cut’ it into the dry ingredients. I use a pastry knife to start with which makes it quick and easy but some people just use their fingers, pressing the butter until you have bean-sized bits. You never want big chunks of butter, those will melt into a puddle in the pan, but about black/kidney bean sized is good.
Pour wet into dry and ‘fold’: The video will make this step clearer; basically you’ll stir the wet and dry together and then use your hands to fold it over itself, grabbing the flour bits and bunching it into the mass of dough in the middle. Keep doing this until it’s all come together.
Shape: I like to create flaky layers in my scones so I pat it out (you don’t need a rolling pin, just hands) then fold it over a few times. Three folds is usually enough. Then use a bench scraper (or a chef’s knife) to slice the dough into individual pieces. I like to do rectangles cut into squares cut into triangles but you can also form a big circle and cut that into triangles.
Freeze: We’re all about keeping that butter cold so we’re sticking these into the freezer for a bit before baking. After all the shaping it’s likely gone to room temp and we want it colddd.
Bake: Make sure the scones are rather close together (but not touching); this helps them rise higher and bake them until they’re golden (or brown) all around the edges. Peek at them before you take them out, if you’ve pat them particularly thick they’ll brown quite a bit before baking fully in the middle.
The flavors for this glaze stick to the original persian love cake: lemon juice and rose water. If you don’t have rose water (or don’t want to use it) feel free to keep it at just lemon (or just vanilla!).
If you don’t want to do a glaze at all, brush the scones with cream before they go into the oven and sprinkle some organic or turbinado sugar on top. It’ll give them some nice crunch.
Speaking of removing or swapping flavors, the base recipe for this is an almond scone which means, there’s a lot of different directions you can take this if you don’t want/dont like the ‘persian love’ flavors: use orange zest, add some nuts into the dough, etc. Do what pleases you!
We’re going to freeze the scones before baking anyway so this is a great stopping point if you want to have these done ahead of time. After you’ve shaped, place them in an airtight container and freeze until you want to bake. They can (and should) be baked from frozen, the temp below takes that into account.
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