Sunday, July 05, 2009

Breakfast at Wimbledon Scones

The one unfortunate aspect of Wimbledon is that the matches are played during the day London-time, which means that watching most of the tournament is difficult/impossible when you are working. The whole process of following the tournament ends up being very different from what I experienced when I was 13, when my Mom and I spent two weeks with our then puppy Winnie on the shore of a small lake in the Adirondacks. The cottage we rented was in the middle of nowhere at the northern edge of the region - it took at least 20 minutes to drive to the nearest town where the grocery store was. The TV in the house received only the 3 network channels, but that turned out to be enough because NBC was showing all of the glorious 1995 Wimbledon. (Now that I think of it, either I am remembering incorrectly about only having 3 channels there, or NBC lost its interest in tennis in the intervening years, since most of the tournament is shown on ESPN2 nowadays.)

Basically, what I most remember about that summer is doing lots of swimming, being frightened half to death when Winnie decided to jump out of the boat I was rowing in the middle of the lake (she had never swam anywhere at that point so I wasn't sure she would know how), forcing myself to get through David Copperfield (summer reading), enjoying the unbelievably creamy cheesecake sold at the gas station/deli half-way to town, and rooting for Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf as they worked their way toward their Wimbledon crowns (3rd of 7 for Pete and 6th of 7 for Steffi). It's very possible that experience of watching my first Wimbledon is responsible for the fact that I have yet to admire any other male or female player as much as I do Pete and Steffi.

This year, since I was fortunate enough to get a summer internship despite the less-than-stellar economy, my Wimbledon watching was restricted to men's semifinals (thanks to Friday, July 3 being a holiday) and finals, and ladies' finals. I was visiting my parents for the long July 4th weekend, and since one of my best friends from high school was also temporarily home, we decided to watch the Williams sisters battle it out together during Saturday's Breakfast at Wimbledon. Since Claire and her parents were generously having Mihai and me over at 9 in the morning on a Saturday, I thought it would be nice to bring something to enjoy while we watched the sisters go at it for the 4th time. Deb's North Fork scones seemed to fit the occasion well, and I thought making them with strawberries would be particularly appropriate for the season and the British tennis tournament.

Breakfast at Wimbledon Scones
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 oz butter
1 cup strawberries or other fresh fruit, chopped (or 1 cup golden raisins)
¾ sour cream
½ cup milk**

* I will probably use more next time, since my Mom thought these could be sweeter.
** The original recipe called for buttermilk, but I didn't get a chance to buy any and didn't feel like making some, since my Mom said sour cream was an acceptable, if not a superior, substitute. The sour cream did mean that there was a bit less liquid in the recipe compared to the original, which is why I added approximately half a cup of milk until the dough came together.

1. Preheat oven to 375° and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Mix together the dry ingredients until they are well combined.

3. Use the "rough holes" side of a box grater to grate the cold butter straight into the flour mixture, stopping a few times to incorporate the butter shreds into the flour.

(Deb's recipe called for mixing the butter and the flour mixture together with a food processor, but since I was making these early in the morning and didn't want to make too much noise, I went with my usual method getting the cold butter pieces mixed into the dry ingredients - normally, using a regular-sized food processor is not even an option since we don't have one in our kitchen.)

4. Add the sour cream and enough milk to make the dough come together, then mix in the strawberries (or other fruit). Make sure not to over-mix.

5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a couple times. Roll dough out to approximately one-inch thickness (you can skip the rolling pin and just pat it out with floured hands like Deb and I did) and cut into squares. Cut those squares again on the diagonal, creating triangles.

6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned.


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