When Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila finds herself near Century City, she likes to stop in at Clementine for coffee and a pastry. Since Annie Miler opened it nearly five years ago, Virbila has tried practically everything this exceptional baker has made. Lately, Miler’s irresistibly crumbly strawberry scones are her favorite.
In a food processor, mix the flour, one-half cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt and butter, until the butter is in small pieces. Scrape the batter into a bowl and stir in the strawberries and lemon zest.
Pour in 1 2/3 cups of the cream and incorporate with a spatula. With your hands, mix the dough by bringing the bottom to the top and working between the fingers. Do not overwork.
Turn it out onto a floured surface. Press the crumbly dough together and flatten to five-eighths-inch thick. Cut into 12 scones using a flower-shaped (3 1/4 inches in diameter) or round cutter. Freeze and bake as needed.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees for a convection oven, which is what Clementine uses). Place the scones 2 to 3 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone sheet. Brush the tops with cream, about 1 teaspoon per scone. Sprinkle sugar evenly, about one-half teaspoon per scone. Bake until golden, about 30 to 35 minutes, depending on whether dough is frozen. Cool before removing from the baking sheet.