Wayne’s brother and sister-in-law sent us beautiful, fragrant organic Meyer lemons from a tree at their home in California for a “Merry Citrus!” I’ve never experienced anything like them. Our kitchen smells like warm sunshine, if that’s possible! What a perfect balm for a frigid December. I selected a vintage scone (pronounced sconn) recipe from the book Traditional Dishes of Britain published in 1953 by Philip Harben, the “TV Cook.” Scottish scones are very different from the Americanized versions; in fact they usually contain little to no sugar and few or no eggs. Additionally, they were often cooked on a “hotplate” which produced a “flat shape that is so convenient for splitting and buttering, the natural destiny of the scone.”
When served with a British “cream tea” a heavily sweetened scone would be too much sugar when spread with clotted cream and preserves.
His recipe doesn’t contain currants or lemons, however, Harben explains: “The action of baking powder is increased if the scone dough is mixed with sour milk, for the lactic acid combines with the baking powder and makes it more effective; there will be absolutely no taste of sourness in the finished scones.” That’s where the Meyer lemons sneak in to add function and zest: We’re making homemade sour milk!
Here is his recipe before I adapted it to make it lemony and gluten-free:
And here is my adaptation and recipe for Meyer Lemon Scones with Currants:
3 oz oat flour
9 oz tapioca flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk or milk substitute (unsweetened)
2 oz Tate & Lyle Caster sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter
2 oz currants
1 Meyer lemon zest and juice, separated
In a measuring cup mix the 3/4 cup milk with the salt and lemon juice. Let sit for five minutes.
Sift together the flour and baking powder, then grate the butter over the flour and mix together until crumbly. Mix in the lemon zest, sugar and currants. Add the milk, lemon and salt mixture and mix. Gently knead the dough into a ball and place on a floured surface.
Roll out to one inch thick and cut into rounds with a 1 1/2 inch cutter. To make triangular shaped scones cut the dough into two, roll out, then cut into triangles. Place on a greased baking sheet at least one inch apart.
Brush with an egg wash and bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about fifteen minutes.
It was the Meyer lemons, I believe, that gave my gluten-free scone recipe added fluff and flavor for a wonderful “I can’t even tell it’s gluten-free!” result.