Regular readers may know by now that I love a bit of hedgerow foraging, especially at this time of year. I used to love picking blackberries in Cornwall with my Grandma until my fingers (and probably my mouth) were stained blue and purple.
The same readers may also have picked up on the fact that I don’t just like my booze in a glass. I really enjoy incorporating it into my baking too, even more since I learned that you could use gin in pastry for light, crisp results. (https://colonialcravings.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/gin-and-lemon-tart/) The principles are the same with this, the booze will evaporate at a different temperature to the buttermilk and cream in the recipe, making the scones light and fluffy.
The bourbon and blackberries make these scones into a wonderful autumnal treat, just the thing when you’re pining for the cream teas of summer’s past. They’re ideal with a cup of tea after a day spent kicking your way through fallen leaves.
375g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
20g soft brown sugar
125g fresh ripe blackberries (smaller ones work better)
1 tsp vanilla paste
2 tsp Demerara sugar to decorate
Pre-heat your oven to 200°c and pop a large baking sheet in there.
Sift together the flour, raising agents and cinnamon so that they are well blended. Stir through the salt and sugar. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips. Once it looks a bit like breadcrumbs you can gently toss in the blackberries.
Combine the buttermilk, cream, bourbon and vanilla in a separate jug. Add this to the dry mixture, in two lots, stirring gently with a butter knife to bring it all together to form a soft dough.
Gently pat the dough out on a lightly floured surface so that it’s about 1/2″ thick. Stamp out the scones using a metal cutter with a sharp tap. Never twist your cutter when you’re making scones.
Carefully re-roll the dough as necessary but try to keep this to a minimum so that you don’t break up the fruit too much.
Take the tray out of the oven and very carefully grease it (I use a spray) before placing the scones on it, spaced a little way apart. Brush the tops with a little extra buttermilk and then sprinkle each one with a bit of Demerara sugar to give it a crunchy top. Bake them for 15-18 minutes, until they have risen and become golden brown.
Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool a little before serving with some cool creamy butter or a generous dollop of clotted cream.