Lemon, lemon, lemon!

While visiting my mom in Grand Rapids, Michigan recently I simply had to do a little baking.  Why of course!  What could be more natural?

I've had lemon on the brain, finding these days of ongoing winter, with some early (dare I say it?) hints of spring, so conducive to the fresh, bright taste of lemon.  I wanted to make lemon scones for sure.  Mom just LOVED them when I made them over our Christmas visit, and, in addition to serving them for a couple of family luncheons, I wanted to bake up a stash for her freezer.

This recipe for lemon cream scones is the one I made all summer long back in 2007 at Gerrish's cafe in Winter Harbor, Maine.  Full of lemon zest, cream and butter, they were a big hit with the locals and tourists.

les ingredients

wet and dry

Making them by hand is the key.  Whisk the dry ingredients (260 gm/2 cups flour, 30 gm/2 TBSP sugar, 8 gm/1 TBSP baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and zest of 2 medium or 1 large lemon) and sand in the diced, cold butter (113 gm/4 oz/1 stick).  Then add the wet ingredients (180 ml/3/4 cup heavy cream, 1 large egg, 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice) and mix quickly and gently to achieve a shaggy dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface, give the batter a few quick kneads, shape a one inch thick round and cut into 6 or 8 triangles, depending on your size preference (I prefer smaller portions).

Once I have them on the parchment lined baking sheet, I pop them into the freezer for 10-15 minutes to stabilize the dough before baking.

Brush with a little cream (or egg wash) and sprinkle with sugar. . . .

ready for the oven

then bake at 400º for about 20 minutes.

just out of the oven

When ready to serve for brunch or lunch, just place them in a cloth lined basket and they're ready for the table!

For a luncheon dessert I had in mind a lemon custard of some sort.  The whole custard discussion is a topic unto itself - stove top vs. oven; milk or cream; yolks, whole eggs or a combination of both; starch or not - it goes on and on.

I decided on a straight forward stovetop lemon custard, à la crème pâtissiére, with milk, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, sugar and cornstarch.  It's a practical do-ahead preparation, especially since it holds well in the fridge up to 2-3 days.

A little side note here:  when I'm working in someone else's kitchen and don't have the tools that I normally have at my disposal, it can take some improvising.  Lo and behold, I discovered a new way to juice a lemon using a beater from a Kitchenaid hand mixer . . . .

Just halve the lemon and twist the beater into the half to release the juice - not bad!!

The custards came out silky smooth, not too heavy or eggy and with just the right burst of lemon.  Topped with a little chantilly and fresh raspberries - what could be better?  Perhaps a moist little financier?  Yes!!