As a young girl growing up, it was always clear that there was something different about Sundays. While much of what was different would be easy to dismiss as legalistic, there was something about the uniqueness of that day, the deviation from the usual routines that was a welcome change. One of the differences I loved most about Sundays was the food – there were foods we ate on Sunday that we didn’t eat any other day of the week. They were special: coffee cakes, melt-in-your-mouth tender beef roasts, creamy mashed potatoes, buttery Parkerhouse rolls, and flaky apple pie.
In our home, we have continued the tradition of Sundays being set-apart and unique, our focus over the years becoming about savoring and gratitude and worship and family. Good food enjoyed with family and friends we love is definitely part of the day.
I often rise earlier than anyone else in my house on Sunday mornings, and make my way down to the quiet kitchen. In the time it takes for the espresso machine to heat up, I can be well on my way to creating one of my family’s favorites: scones. A family trip to England several years ago introduced us to the delightful British tradition of tea served with scones, clotted cream and jam. While I think I will always prefer coffee to tea, I loved the scones, and soon began adding all varieties of them to my Sunday morning baking repertoire.
After the long, rather dark months of winter, I find myself longing for ways to bring some life and lightness into my days. I’m restless in this in-between space: the sometimes sunny, sometimes gray, sloppy, wet, muddy brown with bits of green poking out, piles of snow still melting space between winter and spring. And so for me, creating something with my own hands and sharing it with those I love brings some of that much needed life into this in-between space.
Cherry Cream Scones
3/4 c. dried cherries
3 c. flour
3 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
½ t. salt
½ t. cream of tartar
½ c. cold butter
1 egg, separated
½ c. sour cream
¾ c. half and half or heavy cream
1 ½ t. almond extract
Preheat oven to 400˚. Place dried cherries in measuring cup and cover with hot water for approximately 10 min., drain and set aside. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar, cut in butter until you have consistent, coarse crumbs. (It is important to use cold butter, the extra work it takes cutting it in will be worth it!)
In a separate bowl, mix cream sour cream, almond extract and egg yolk together. Reserve egg white. Add liquid mixture and dried cherries to dry mixture, stirring gently just a few times until the dough begins to hold together. At this point, turn dough out onto floured counter and knead gently 6-8 times. (It will appear really crumbly at first, you just want to knead it until it holds together, as overworking will make tough scones.) Cut ball of dough in half; pat each half into a 6-inch circle and cut into 6 wedges.
Place scones on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Beat egg white until frothy, brush over tops of scones. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 min., until lightly golden on top.
Easy Clotted Cream*
1 c. heavy cream
1/3. c. sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (Greek yogurt will give it a firmer texture)
1-3 t. powdered sugar – to taste
Whip heavy cream until stiff, whisk in sour cream or yogurt, along with desired amount of sugar. (I personally like just a hint of sweet to offset some of the sourness.) Serve over warm scones with good quality jam.
*My apologies to the British, this is not real clotted cream, which requires unpasteurized whole milk, lots of boiling and then hours of setting until the separated cream “clots”. That whole process would take the joy right out of my laid back Sunday’s.
Janet Stark is a woman learning to embrace her depth and sensitivity. Inspired by Mary pondering things in her heart, Janet writes about her experiences here. She is grateful for the deep love she shares with her husband of 26 years, as well as her 4 children and 2 grandchildren. She is a life-long lover of words and looks forward to reading and sharing at Red Tent Living.