Light, flaky and not too sweet, these buttermilk scones are so good with creamy mascarpone cheese, strawberry jam and fresh berries.
Buttery, crumbly and very lightly sweet, buttermilk scones occupy a comfortable culinary middle ground, somewhere between pastry and a simple quick bread.
I’m not sure if a batch of warm buttermilk scones qualifies as dessert. In the U.S., scones are a popular go-with for coffee during the day. And the Brits traditionally don’t eat them for breakfast — instead, scones are the star of their very own course called “tea.”
No matter when they’re served, we can all agree that fresh scones are definitely a very civilized snack, and they happily go with tasty things like fruit jam, berries and cream.
What I love about these scones is the insanely delicious combo of strawberries and creamy mascarpone. Mascarpone is actually a perfect sub for clotted cream (which isn’t an ingredient I usually find where I shop): It’s rich and thick, tastes like sweet cream and it’s easy to spread.
Making a cute little sandwich with split scones, a good schmear of mascarpone, sliced strawberries and this killer roasted strawberry jam makes a treat very much like a deconstructed cheesecake.
There’s a lot of passionate discussion about what makes an authentic scone recipe, especially when comparing American-style scones to traditional British/Irish ones. Not to mention the minute details involved in the baked goods we call scones and biscuits.
It all depends on slight differences in the amount of fat-to-flour, the type of fat (butter, cream, lard or buttermilk) and even how they’re shaped (wedges, squares or circles).
This recipe is decidedly on the American end of the spectrum, producing scones that are puffed, tender and buttery inside, but not too sweet.
A sturdy round biscuit cutter comes in handy to make these scones, but in a pinch you can use an overturned glass or ramekin instead.
buttermilk scones with strawberries and cream
Yield 12 - 14 scones
You'll need 3-inch round cutters.
The scones can be made ahead and frozen. Mix the dough, cut them out and freeze on trays until frozen, then transfer to a freezer storage container. When ready to bake, pull them out of the freezer and follow baking directions.
The scones are best warm and freshly made, but will keep for a day or two in a zipped plastic bag. Rewarm slightly in a toaster before serving.
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, full-fat preferred
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
- Roasted Strawberry Refrigerator Jam or your favorite fruit jam
- About 30 minutes before making the scones, put the butter in a bowl and place in the freezer. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the racks arranged in the center.
- Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/3 cup of the sugar in a food processor work bowl or bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Pulse the dry ingredients or mix on low until incorporated.
- Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture is pale yellow and the texture of fine meal. If using a standing mixer, mix on low speed until the mixture looks right, which will take a few minutes.
- Add the vanilla and buttermilk and pulse/mix just until a dough forms - don't overdo it.
- Dump the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough together to form a ball, then pat it into a circle slightly thicker than 1/2-inch. Cut out circles as close together as possible and arrange 1-inch apart on the baking sheets. Gather the scraps, gently patting and pressing together and cut out the remaining dough.
- Brush the tops of the scones with the egg white, then sprinkle lightly with the remaining teaspoon sugar.
- Bake about 15 minutes, until the scones are lightly browned. Serve warm, split in half and spread with mascarpone cheese, jam, and some strawberries.