My housemate Morgan's default setting is work. If you're ever wondering where he is, he's in the library. If you're ever wondering what he's doing, he's working. It is amazing, inspiring, and of course, completely disgusting. Were he not such a god damn great person, I'd be forced to hate him. Meanwhile, my default position appears to be eating. Or cooking. Or reading food blogs. Either way, it's food, and between this passion of mine & a part time job I appear to have forgotten that I'm supposed to be a student. Which I am, by the way. Have I mentioned that? I study Art History at St Andrews - though I use the word "study" quite wrongly at the moment.
Yesterday, I decided to buckle down. After my lectures I headed home, made lunch, then went to the library with every good intention of staying there till evening at the earliest. But... Well, you know how it is. I couldn't find a seat, it was hot, it was sweaty, I couldn't find anybody I knew... So, I went home. And I checked food blogs. And I found a recipe on 101 Cookbooks for blackberry & ricotta scones. Aaaaand, apart from ricotta, I had everything I needed already in the house. So, without even putting on a cardigan (in October, in Scotland. Error. Never again.) I ran out of the house to get ricotta and, well, another day passed without me doing any work. Oh well!
These are, without a doubt, the prettiest things I've ever made. This is a fairly picture heavy post, because I just couldn't leave my camera alone. It was such a pretty mix! And dough! And such pretty scones! Anybody who's ever been blackberry picking will know that there's no colour quite like the purpleish-pinkish-reddish-blackish stain you have on your fingers at the end of the day, and it's that exact colour which bleeds out into the scones here. Scones are one of the first things I ever learnt to bake & in fact remain the only thing I've ever made in any kind of professional capacity, since I used to make them every morning at a cafe I worked at one summer, but these top any I've ever made before. The double cream & ricotta make them incredibly soft, whilst the ricotta also adds a lovely lemony tang which works perfectly alongside the sharp richness of the blackberries. And there's certainly no shortness of blackberries, for this dough is so packed full of them that you get a lovely fruity mouthful with each bite. The mixture of wholewheat & plain flour makes this a sliiiightly healthier recipe, but taste isn't compromised even a little bit - in fact, I far prefer it. They're irresistibly soft, the polar opposite of dense, and completely melt in your mouth. I already know this is a recipe I'll be returning to time & time again, and you could easily replace the blackberries with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, cherries, crystallised ginger, dried apple... Absolutely anything at all! There's no need to buy new ingredients - just do what I did & use up whatever's in your fridge. But, seasonal is always best, and we've got to make the most of blackberry season whilst we can.
To make 6 large scones, you will need:
- 120 grams of wholewheat flour.
- 125 grams of plain flour.
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
- 50 grams of sugar (I used granulated, but caster would work fine).
- Half a teaspoon of salt.
- 85 grams of unsalted butter.
- 150 grams of fresh blackberries.
- 190 grams of ricotta.
- 80ml double cream.
1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees c, & place a sheet of baking paper over a large baking tray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your flours, sugar, baking powder & salt. No need to sieve - the whisking will sort that out for you so that a sufficient amount of air gets into the flour.
3. Chop the butter into pieces, and then add to the dry mix. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until it turns into fine breadcrumbs - as in the picture above.
4. Roughly chop your blackberries & add them into the mixture, mixing it all together with your hands once again. At this stage all the beautiful colours of the juice will start bleeding out into the dough mix, and that's absolutely fine. In fact, as with anything that's this pretty, just embrace it.
5. In a separate bowl/measuring jug/jar/any nearby vessel, mix together your double cream & your ricotta.
6. Pour the cream & ricotta mixture into the mixing bowl, and mix it all together with your hands to form a dough in the bottom of the mixing bowl. This is unlike any dough I've ever made before, and if you're used to making scones in a more traditional way (as I was), this will seem quite unfamiliar & bizarre to you. But just go with it - it's a very wet dough, but it makes for very moist scones.
7. Moving it as little as possible (for this is not the sort of dough that one kneads - but definitely the sort that one needs, oh ho ho ho ho), take your dough out of the mixing bowl & onto a lightly floured surface. Pat it down until it's about half an inch think, then gently flip it over and pat the other side down as well - just to make sure that it's all evenly floured.
8. Slice into 6. Like a pizza!
9. Place your beautiful works of art onto the baking tray & bake for about 15 minutes, or until the outside crust has turned golden & you can poke a skewer into the centre and it will come out clean. But seriously, have you ever seen prettier unbaked scones than these?! The beautiful lilac colour, the flecks of black from the berries, the tiny hints of cream from the ricotta... Why on Earth would I bother with an Art History degree when I could just look at these?
10. Once the scones are baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays for about 10 minutes. Then, dust with icing sugar, and transfer to a wire rack or plate to allow to cool completely.
Though of course, when I say "allow to cool completely", I only managed to resist mine for about 20 minutes before diving in. There's nothing better than a cup of tea & a scone fresh from the oven, so these didn't last very long in my house at all. As with most scones, they're at their best on the day of baking, but if you want to keep some for the next day just pop them into an airtight container, and then reheat either in the oven or microwave the next day to restore a bit of life. They shouldn't take longer than 30 seconds in the microwave, or 5 minutes in the oven.
As tender as butter, bursting with fruit, and baked in less than half an hour. One of my new favourite recipes, for sure.