I know its impossibly romantic, but I have to tell you that I don’t think there are many things more civilized and genteel than drinking a cup of tea brewed from actual tea leaves and eating a warm scone with or without butter melting all over it, or maybe spread with marmalade or a homemade jam. At this time of year, it helps terribly if there is a warm wood stove nearby and perhaps a warm and close friend to share it all with.
How often do I actually do this? Hmmm. Not often enough. But here is a really nice scone to make the next time I do. You’ll like it, too, I’m pretty sure. The recipe came from my late island neighbor Eileen Reynolds. When she died, our island sewing circle circulated her recipe among its members so we could continue to do as Eileen did and bake them for our annual fair. Of course, they are perfectly delicious in summer, in which case the tea party venue might be a shady porch, but I like cranberries and oranges together this time of year, and I think the scones strike a festive note.
You could consider making a pre-packaged gift of these. Mix the dry ingredients together and present them in a canning jar, with an orange and the required dried cranberries, together with the recipe. Maybe add a zester or one of those dandy microplane graters. Go whole hog and add a box of tea and a teapot. Oh, heck, toss in a tea cozy, some nice raw sugar cubes, a teacup or two and, while you are at it, a cow for some cream. That would be one memorable gift.
Cranberry orange scones
Makes eight large scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
½ cup (one stick) of butter
⅔ cup buttermilk
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and orange peel. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the cranberries and buttermilk and mix until the dough is moistened. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly five or six times, then pat into an 8-inch circle. Cut into eight wedges and place on the baking sheet about an inch apart. Glaze with milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar, if you wish. Bake for 15 minutes until golden.
… Beans Swaggon. Bev Bubar wrote to say, “I’m looking for a recipe for Beans Swaggon. I can remember my Grandmother would make this bean soup and she would simmer it on the back of the wood stove all day.” Sounds like good winter fare to me and I sure hope one of you has a recipe for it.
Send queries or answers to Sandy Oliver, 1061 Main Road, Islesboro 04848. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For recipes, tell us where they came from. List ingredients, specify number of servings and do not abbreviate measurements. Include name, address and daytime phone number.