I’m a little bit weird in that having a few days off don’t usually start with a lie in and lazy loafing around for the rest of the day. Nope, I get up often even earlier than usual and get the Apple Chapel spick and span, get myself spick and span before starting some more pleasurable pottering around. A little bit of blog work with a coffee drank leisurely with whatever my current obsession TV show or movie wise on in the background (psst, it’s Sherlock right now – and I am completely hooked) is my routine on days I’m home alone. Recently, I decided to take myself off to our local shopping centre for a browse and whilst I was there, I stopped in for brunch at a little Italian cafe I have never been to but is always packed (and has an impressive selection of patisserie on display). The waiter who ushered me to my marble table for one recommended I tried one of their fresh scones before they sold out and I agreed. What took me by surprise was that it was a panettone scone served with lemon mascarpone and berry compote. Oh. My. Word. I’ve never had a better scone and so of course, I had to run home and replicate it myself as fast as I could!
If you haven’t tried panettone before, the scent and flavour are tricky to pin down precisely but the blend of vanilla, a selection of citrus fruits and honey is unmistakeable. It’s not perhaps the first recipe you should try if you’re just embarking on sweet yeasted doughs but my Panettone Scones give you all that very Italian flavour, packaged up in a very British scone. I use a blend of aromatic oils from Bakery Bits, a brilliant online bread making kit supplier (who ship internationally and have excellent customer service) called Aroma di Panettone to give that special flavour to all sorts of things (like my Pandoro and also my Panettone Ice Cream) and I can’t urge you to order yourself a bottle or three strongly enough (and this isn’t sponsored in any way, I just love Bakery Bits and think you will too). A drizzle of this aroma (it is very potent), a scattering of dried fruits and candied peels and a sprinkle of pearl sugar and you have a light and fluffy scone, perfect to spread thickly with lemon scented mascarpone remniscent of cheesecake and your favourite jam. Mine is blackcurrant, I love the sharpness against the somehow honeyed sweetness of the scones, although their is no actual honey in these little beauties.
- 450 g plus 50g plain flour
- 80 g soft butter
- 80 g caster sugar
- 5 tsp baking powder
- 40 g sultanas
- 40 g candied peel I love the Rainbow mix from Bakery Bits*
- 2 large eggs
- 250 ml buttermilk
- 1.5 tsp Aroma di Panettone**
- 1-2 tbsp pearl sugar
- 125 g mascarpone
- 1 tsp lemon extract or lemon zest
- Jam of your choice
Preheat the oven to 220˚C and flour a baking sheet well.
Take the 450g flour and using your hands or a spatula, flake in the butter and mix until the texture of porridge oats. Stir in the sugar, baking powder, sultanas and candied peel.
Tip the 50g extra flour onto a clean work surface.
Beat the eggs into the buttermilk and Aroma di Panettone. Pour most of the egg mixture into the bowl with the dried ingredients in and mix to a soft and sticky dough. It will be very sticky but fear not. I leave about 2-3 tbsp behind and only dribble in what I need - reserve this for egg washing with before baking.
Scrape the sticky dough onto the pile of extra flour and sprinkle some of it on top to coat it well. Fold the sticky dough over and over (lightly) until the extra flour is incorporated and you have built up some layers to help with the rise.
Pat the dough out to about 1.5 inches (3-4 cm) tall and cut out 12 scones with a well floured 7cm cutter.
Quickly transfer to the tray leaving only 2cm between the scones then brush the tops with the reserved egg wash and sprinkle over the pearl sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until well risen and browned. Cool for 5 minutes before serving with the mascarpone (beat it lightly with the lemon extract and place in a shallow dish for serving - don't over beat, you just want to combine the two) and jam. Devour!
**= substitute for 1 tsp vanilla plus 1 tsp lemon extract plus 1 tsp orange extract (or the same amount of zest for the citruses).
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