Wherever you [are], there you are.
Living in the country is lovely in the warm weather. Living in the country when cooking and writing about food for a living is a very good thing. Living in the country gives me access to ultra-local, seasonal ingredients, plenty of great trails to explore, a large kitchen to use, a spacious home office with a ginormous window (that’s a 5 second commute from my bedroom), and a backyard filled with lush greenery and blossoming trees. My home is only a 10 minute drive to the lake if I want to stare into the open waters, think, and eat an ice cream cone while my hair flies into my mouth and gets all sticky because the pier is windy.
I have great memories as a kid here, too. I could chase the ice cream truck without being run over because everyone drives nice and slow. I could have birthday parties in my backyard. I could build incredible snow forts and walk to the toboggan hills. I had a large room of my own where I’d climb out onto the roof, as well as a “secret” under-the-stairs hideout in my basement where I could pretend I was in the show, Ghostwriter, draw on the walls, and eat Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies that were supposed to be for school snacks––and think my parents didn’t know about it.
Living in the country as a 27 year-old woman, however, has downsides. It’s isolating at times and frustrating because I can’t see my friends without driving for nearly an hour. It’s not a hot bed for dating, which isn’t at all (at all) a priority of mine, but you know, I have feelings too. And sometimes I feel chronologically older than I really am (I don’t mean physically).
Will I move out of the country? I think I will, eventually, but today, here I am. Here I am, eating scones, drinking tea, and enjoying the smell of lawn clippings, baby crabapple blossoms, and the chives and mint in my garden. The soundtrack is a mix of a lawnmower, basketball bounce, and chainsaw (sample that).
And living in the country during berry season is even better than you could imagine. Barrels of blueberries can all be yours for the price of $20.
Well, good news: it’s nearly berry season and I live about 5 minutes from two blueberry farms. I favour one over the other because they have a great horse barn, chicken coop, and dog that comes to greet you when you pull in. Every year I think, I’m going to accidentally run over that damn dog. Never happens; farm dogs are sharp.
With the heat this past week, I’ve been reminiscing about last year’s berry season in the country, so I did some berry scone baking on Sunday to crush my craving. At first bite, I knew I had to share the recipe on the double. When I took a corner off while waiting for the kettle to boil, I said (audibly), oh my god. I was alone (technically I was with the dog, but she’s used to being talked to). Food blogs were made for sharing recipes like this one. It’s adapted (pretty heavily) from my hero, Martha. No last name required, I imagine.
I used rye and spelt flours, common in Scandinavian baking, full of nutty, floral, whole grain flavour, along with berries and butter.
It’s an amenable recipe, too. Replace the measure of berries in here with a seasonal soft fruit of your choosing––peaches, plums, even cranberries come winter would be lovely. I used a frozen mixture of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. For my Canadian readers, I highly recommend you buy a bag of this at your nearest grocery store––the berries are fat, full of flavour, and keep their shape, even upon defrosting (which you don’t want to do for this recipe, but tumble some thawed baubles over a snowbank of yogurt and you’ll think it’s mid-August…in May).
However versatile this recipe may be, these are proper scones made with organic butter and wholesome flours. Don’t go shaking those things about, s’il vous plaît. Keep it real.
To serve, I recommend this: dollop a cloud of full-fat sour cream on top, sprinkle with a touch more coarse sugar, and make a cup of strong earl grey tea.
When making scones, you better be prepared to eat scones, because warm out of the oven, day-of is best. Cancel your dinner reservations––you will undoubtedly spoil your appetite with these. Undoubtedly and happily.
- 1 cup rye flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 3 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (preferably organic), cubed, very cold
- ⅔ cup plus 1 tablespoon 3.25% whole milk, very cold
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ pound (2 heaped cups) frozen mixed (do not defrost) or fresh berries
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a food processor or large bowl with a pastry cutter (or two forks), combine flours, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and pulse or cut in until small, pea-like rounds form. If using a food processor, transfer mixture to a large bowl.
- With a wooden spoon, stir in ⅔ cup milk and extract, mixing until fully incorporated. Mix in berries.
- Lightly flour counter. Transfer mixture to counter and tightly form and squish into a round disk with your hands measuring 1-inch high. Slice in half vertically, then horizontally, then each quarter in half for 8 wedges. Using a metal spatula, transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, 1-inch apart. Brush tops with 1 tablespoon milk and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Cool completely on baking sheet. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days (first day best though). Or freeze in a zip-top bag for up to 1 month.
Replace the berries with any soft, seasonal fruit; try peaches, pears, or cranberries. Spice it up with cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, or citrus zest.