Beth and I have been on vacation this week, and after our trip to Upstate New York to visit family, we came home and decided to do something local. Just like we were tourists. So we made a quick trip yesterday to Parlee Farms in Tyngsborough to pick blueberries. With social distancing rules in place, it’s a bit more orderly than it may have been in the past, but going midweek definitely reduced the limitations of “only picking in your assigned acre” and getting berries paid for, picked, and packed to take home was a pretty simple task.
A great place for the kids
If you’ve got kids, this is a great place to visit. Lots of baby animals to feed, chickens, rabbits, goats, and plenty of room to roam. Plus the ice cream/snack stand and farm store are open for shopping. While it was pricey to pick 3 pounds of blueberries ($18 for our two containers) we also bought corn on the cob and fresh peaches (which had run out for the day’s picking) in the store. Plenty of parking, lots of space to pick within your family/friend squad without running into others, and we came home with quite a pile of blueberries. So I thought back to my days in England and my love of scones, to come up with the following yummy recipe. They just came out of the oven an hour or so ago and we’ve already eaten four!!
Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Scones
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 TB baking powder
- 8 TB butter, cold and cut into pieces
- 1 ½ cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried well
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup buttermilk (I use the powdered kind)
- 3 sprigs of lemon thyme stripped and stems discarded
- 2 TB lemon juice
- 1 TB finely zested lemon
- 2 TB light cream
- 2 TB light brown sugar
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
- Cut in the butter until it is crumbly, kind of like oatmeal. Some larger chunks of butter are okay.
- Carefully stir in the blueberries. If they’re like mine, they’ll break up a bit here and there but it’ll be fine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, thyme, and buttermilk
- Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients until they hold together well enough to pick up. (you may need a bit less of the egg mixture, or a bit more flour depending on your results)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly flour it.
- Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the parchment paper and divide it in half. Roughly round each half into a 6” or so circle about ¾” thick. My circles were a bit bigger and a bit thicker due to the size of the berries!
- Brush each circle with cream and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar across them
- Using a cold knife (run it under cold tap water), slice each circle into 6 wedges. I had difficulty making them even but they still were fine
- Pull the wedges apart slightly so there is about ¼” – ½” space between
- Allow to rise uncovered in the freezer for 30 minutes. I know it sounds weird, but it does work, and according to King Arthur, the gluten relaxes and the butter chills so you’ll get fluffier more flaky scones. It worked so I believe them.
- Preheat the over to 425 degrees F.
- Back for 20 – 25 minutes (depending on how juicy your berries are). Mine actually took a few extra minutes. But bake till they’re lightly browned on top and don’t look raw on the sides.
- Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes. They’re delicious slightly warm from the oven.
When completely cool, wrap separately in plastic and store at room temperature. They’ll keep for a few days.
Blueberry tip: If you’re looking to keep fresh blueberries fresh, don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. And if you’re going to freeze them, freeze as is and rinse when you thaw. Make sure to completely dry blueberries before adding them to a recipe or a zip loc bag for the freezer. Any dampness can throw off moisture levels in a recipe, or result in ice forming (in the freezer) which can then bruise the berries as they thaw. Unwashed berries can be kept stored in a refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
This recipe also makes me think of my old college roommate, Nancy. We spent many a holiday together both while we were in school and for a number of years after. I was the Maid of Honor at her wedding, which is another story altogether! We shared the same group of friends for most of our college career. One Christmas, a few years after I graduated, Nancy was working for a bakery in New Jersey and she sent me a batch of the most delicious buttermilk scones. She also sent me her recipe, which I pulled out whenever I wanted a taste of England. All these years later that handwritten recipe card has disappeared. But her scones, and the glory of a field filled with berries just waiting for a purpose, were my inspiration for this new recipe. I hope you enjoy!