Black currant scones

  (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)



Dear SOS: I discovered the best currant scones at La Provence in Beverly Hills. Even the shape is special: free-form and crispy.

Shirley Bilfield

Century City

Dear Shirley: Fan of currants? Then look no further! Each of these scones is packed with those tiny little raisins, so you can be sure every bite has an extra dose of tangy sweetness. They're great served with a little softened butter, honey or marmalade, and make the perfect quick breakfast.

Black currant scones



Total time: About 1 hour

Servings: Makes 14 scones

Note: Adapted from La Provence Cafe.

5 3/4 cups (1 pound, 10 ounces) bread flour

Scant 1 cup (6.4 ounces) sugar

1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 3/4 tablespoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) plus 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces

3 eggs, divided

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

3/4 pound dried black currants (about 2 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons milk

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

2. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 of the eggs, the vanilla and buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir together to evenly distribute. (The dough will be crumbly.) Stir in the currants.

4. Pour the mixture onto a lightly floured cutting board, and gently knead to form a cohesive mass. Be careful not to overmix, or the dough will be tough.

5. Scoop the scones using a large (4-ounce) scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, or divide the dough into 14 portions (each portion will be about one-half cup), leaving 3 inches between each.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg with the milk to form an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each of the scones.

7. Bake the scones until puffed, lightly browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking for even coloring. Remove to a rack and cool slightly before serving.

Each scone: 427 calories; 9 grams protein; 70 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 74 mg. cholesterol; 335 mg. sodium.

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