Cranberry Orange Scones, Blueberry Lemon Scones

 cranberru irange blueberry lemon scones 
Cranberry Orange Scones, Blueberry Lemon Scones

Recently, on a trip to Bangor, I visited a delightful little coffee shop in Dover-Foxcroft. Center Coffee House is located in a storefront adjoining the theater downtown. They have amazing espresso drinks and the most delicious donuts but the highlight of this particular visit was the cranberry orange scone I picked up on a whim.

I’ve never thought much about scones one way or the other. The few I had tried before were dry and crumbly or nearly hard as a rock. This particular scone looked so inviting, I decided to give it a try. It stood tall in the pastry case with a shiny glaze dripping down its many layers of nooks and crannies.

  
I brought it out to the car, excited to share with my wife. After the first flaky bite, I was hooked. I’ve spent the last several weeks thinking about that scone and how I wanted to make one just like it.

Yesterday, I finally made that dream a reality. I love trying something I’ve never done before, especially when it comes out as good as these scones did! I was surprised and delighted to find out how much making scones was like making biscuits. They were so simple and took such little time, I made two different kinds. Here is the recipe I used from “The Bakers Manual.”

Cream Scones

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

6 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter

1/3 cup currants (I used dried cranberries)

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or box grater, cut the butter into the flour until pea-size clumps form. Stir in the currants or whatever (I also added orange zest for the cranberry and lemon zest with the blueberry).

  
In another bowl, whisk together the cream, egg and vanilla. While tossing the flour mixture with a fork, gradually pour enough liquid into the bowl to form a dough when pressed (I found it needed every bit of the liquid). Reserve remaining liquid.

  
Form dough into a disk with your hands, adding cream if necessary. On a floured surface, form dough into around disk 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches high; cut into eight wedges with a floured knife.

  
Refrigerate dough 20 minutes (I did this backwards and refrigerated the disk for 20 minutes before cutting). Brush tops of dough with any remaining cream mixture, using additional cream if necessary (I used egg wash instead). Bake at 425 F for 14-16 minutes, or until golden.

  
Additionally, I mixed a little orange juice (lemon for the blueberry) with a lot of powdered sugar to make a sweet glaze to drizzle on top.

  
These scones turned out at least as good, if not better than the one I had at the coffee shop! I was so pleased with the results. I can’t wait to try some different flavor combinations!

  

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Blueberry Cheesecake Hand Pies

Recently, a friend of mine had what I thought was a brilliant idea. I had posted a picture on social media of blueberries I had picked and asked if anybody had any suggestions for what to do with them. I had a lot of good responses but my favorite was the inspiration for this recipe.

  
Blueberry Cheesecake Hand Pies

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold butter, diced

6 Tbsp cold water

Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup blueberry jam

1/2 cup blueberries

Finishing:

1 egg and 1 Tbsp water, beaten together

Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Directions:

For the crust:

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to combine.

  
Add cubed butter and toss in the flour mixture until it is well coated, being careful to avoid the blade.

Pulse 12-15 times until butter is pea sized.

Add water while processor is running and then pulse several more times until just before dough comes together.

  
Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into 2 evenly sized disks.

  
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least fifteen minutes or until ready to use.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

For the filling:

Combine cream cheese and sugar in a bowl and mix until sugar is dissolved.

  
Add egg and stir until combined.

Add vanilla extract and stir until combined.

Add blueberry jam and stir briefly.

  
Refrigerate at least one hour or until cold.

To assemble hand pies:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Roll out dough on a floured surface until it is 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut into even squares.

  
Separate squares and spoon cheesecake filling into the center, working one at a time.

  
Add a few blueberries and fold into a triangle, pressing the edges together when they meet.

  
Crimp the edges with a fork and trim off any excess.

  
Arrange on a baking sheet and poke a few vents in the top of each pie.

  
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar before putting in the oven.

  
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least fifteen minutes before enjoying.

  

Wild Blueberry Tart with Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Filling and Snickerdoodle Pecan Crust

  
Wild Blueberry Tart with Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Filling and Snickerdoodle Pecan Crust

Recipe makes one 11 inch tart

Ingredients:

  

Crust:

2 cups snickerdoodle crumbs

1 1/2 cup toasted pecan crumble (about 6 ounces whole)

1 stick butter, melted

Note: This is a basic crumb crust. You can substitute any crunchy cookie or graham crackers or any nuts or no nuts, whatever you have on hand. Gingersnaps would be a nice twist. I used snickerdoodles because I had some leftover in the cookie jar. The drier the cookie, the crunchier the crust!

Ricotta Cheesecake Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese at room temp

1 cup ricotta

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 lemon, zested

Note: If you don’t have ricotta you may use goat cheese or all cream cheese for the filling.

Blueberry Topping:

4 cups blueberries

1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp water, divided

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp lemon juice

Note: It is blueberry season here in Maine so I used wild blueberries. If you do not have access to wild blueberries, store bought or cultivated will work just fine.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Toast pecans in oven for 4-5 minutes. Allow to cool.

Smash or crumble Snickerdoodle cookies and place in food processor. Pulse until you have a fine crumb.

  
Place cooled pecans in food processor. Pulse until you have an even, coarse crumb.

  
Combine 2 cups cookie crumb and 1 1/2 pecan crumb in a large bowl and mix with melted butter until it is the consistency of wet sand and just holds its shape when pressed together.

  
Press crust into tart pan evenly, working from the center out. I find a straight sided cylindrical object with a flat bottom works well for this. I like to use my one cup measure. You may have a little extra crumb leftover.

  
Bake crust on a sheet pan for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and lower temperature to 325 F.

Allow to cool while you prepare the filling.

Combine cream cheese, ricotta and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until completely combined. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula. While mixing on low, add eggs, one at a time, adding the next egg after the first is completely combined. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest and mix on low until combined. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour filling into crust and bake on a sheet pan for 30 minutes, rotating at 15 minutes.

  
When filling is set, turn off the oven and crack the door, allowing tart to cool slowly at least fifteen minutes. If the cheesecake filling cools too quickly, it may split.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping.

Combine 1 cup blueberries with 1/2 cup water in a pot and bring to a boil.

  
Combine 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water and mix until cornstarch is completely dissolved and mixture is smooth.

Whisk cornstarch slurry into pot and cook while whisking for several minutes over medium heat, being careful not to burn.

  
Add sugar and lemon juice and whisk over medium low heat until smooth.

Fold in remaining 3 cups blueberries until well coated and remove from heat.

Remove tart from oven and pour 3/4 of the blueberry topping into the center. Gently spread to the edge of the crust on all sides, adding more topping if necessary. You may have a small amount of topping left over.

  
Allow to cool at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

  
  

That’s my Jam!

We are traveling to Quebec tomorrow to stay with some friends for a few days. I didn’t want to show up empty handed so I decided to make some homemade blueberry jam to bring as a thank you gift.

  
I headed straight to my favorite blueberry patch and started picking. It took me a while but I finally had enough for a good batch of jam!

   
 I rushed home and immediately started rinsing and separating all the blueberries. It is important to remove any stems or other foreign material before you start cooking.

  
I like my blueberry jam to taste like wild blueberries so I don’t make it too sweet. I add some lemon and a little nutmeg to round out the flavor and that’s it. You can use store bought blueberries if you can’t find wild and it will still turn out amazing. Here is my recipe for blueberry jam.

Blueberry Jam

This recipe makes enough to fill a pint jar to save or give away and have some left for breakfast toast or top ice cream or cheesecake or just shove in your mouth because it is so good. 1 1/2 pints total yield.

Ingredients:

5 cups blueberries

1 cup sugar

1 lemon, zested

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Rinse and dry blueberries. Remove any stems or foreign material.

  
Put 3 cups blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and nutmeg in a pot and cook over low heat, stirring frequently until blueberries release their liquid and sugar is dissolved.

  
Combine cornstarch and lemon juice and stir until cornstarch is completely dissolved and mixture is smooth.

Add cornstarch slurry to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook five minutes or until sauce is thickened slightly.

Add remaining 2 cups of blueberries and stir to combine. Allow to cool slightly before transferring into jars.

  

Blueberry Pie

  
Blueberry season marks the height of the summer here in Maine and there is no more iconic way to celebrate than a delicious blueberry pie. 

  
Over the years I have tried countless recipes and was never completely satisfied until I made my own by combining the best bits of every recipe I learned from. Some were too runny, some didn’t have enough flavor and some were close but didn’t quite hit the mark. After four years of trying and tweaking and trying again, this is my favorite blueberry pie recipe.

Perfect Blueberry Pie

Ingredients:

 2 pints blueberries (4 cups)

3/4 cup sugar

1 lemon, zested

5 Tbsp cornstarch

3 Tbsp lemon juice (1 lemon, juiced)

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp Demerara, turbinado or other coarse sugar, for top of pie

2 individual pie crusts

Directions:

Combine 1 cup berries with 3/4 cup sugar and lemon zest in pan.

  
Simmer on low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is melted and mixture is very liquid. This will take about 10 minutes.

  
Combine cornstarch, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar in bowl. Stir until mixture is completely combined and homogenous.

Add to pan with blueberries and cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and is smooth and thick.

  
Pour hot mixture into large bowl. Allow to cool until warm.

Fold in remaining 3 cups of blueberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter.

Let cool completely before adding to pie crust.

  
To create a lattice crust, cut top crust into even strips and lay half of them on top of the pie in parallel lines.

  
Fold back alternating strips and place one strip perpendicular to the others.

  
Replace the alternating strips, covering the perpendicular strip of dough and fold back the others.

  
Continue repeating this process until the crust is complete.

  
  
  
Tuck the edges under and shape to your preference.

  
Preheat oven to 400 F. Refrigerate for fifteen minutes or longer before baking.

Gently brush top crust with egg wash and sprinkle coarse sugar liberally over pie.

  
Place a crust protector or piece of aluminum foil around the edge of the pie to keep from burning.

  
Put pie in oven and immediately decrease heat to 375 F.

Bake 40-45 minutes until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack  at least one hour before serving.

  
Slice and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

  

Blueberry Muffins

Best Ever Blueberry Muffins
  

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened plus more for pan

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 lemon, zested

1 cup sour cream

1 heaping cup blueberries

Topping:

2 Tbsp butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Demerara, turbinado or other coarse sugar (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

Butter a 12 muffin pan

Combine first five ingredients and whisk briefly. Set aside. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest and mix until incorporated. Add sour cream and mix until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter.

For Topping:

Combine butter, brown sugar and flour and mix with fingers until crumbly. Crumble on top of muffin batter and then sprinkle coarse sugar (optional) on top.

Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before enjoying.

 

Heading home from Greenville today, we stumbled upon a patch of wild Maine blueberries! It is the peak of season and we all greedily filled our bag together, talking the whole time about what we would do with our treasure when we returned home.

  

After some debate, we all agreed that we should make blueberry muffins. It was late in the day and we were all thinking about breakfast the next morning, not to mention an after dinner treat.

  
It took us quite a while to fill our bag, mostly because half the fun of picking wild berries is tasting them as you go! Finally, we had enough to make a batch of muffins and a few extra because we knew we would not be able to resist temptation, even on the short drive home.

  
When we arrived home, we rinsed the berries and laid them out on a dry towel before picking through to remove any stems or foreign particles. Then, I fired up the oven and mixed the batter. My wife and son helped fill the muffin dish and then sprinkle the topping on. We put the pan in the oven and eagerly waited while it performed it’s magic.

  
When the muffins were finally ready, they were so good it was difficult to not eat them all on the spot! They came out moist with a crunchy topping, even the next day. I am so glad I wrote down this recipe. These are the best blueberry muffins I have ever eaten!

Tryout Tuesday: Blueberry Lemon Bars

  
Tuesdays on the island are usually a little slower. The guests have all left and it’s time to start getting ready for the next group. Most often, I like to use this opportunity to try something new. If it turns out good, it is one less thing I have to do in the upcoming week. If not, well, nobody has to know.

This week I decided to try a recipe for Blueberry Lemon Bars from one of my favorite books, The Bakers Manual. It is full of dependable, basic recipes that are great to use as a springboard for creative substitutions and changes. I think it is a good idea to try a recipe the way it is written the first time so the alterations can be informed ones. After that, the sky is the limit!

  
Blueberry Lemon Bars

Makes one 9″ by 13″ pan

Ingredients:

Oat Streusel:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

3/8 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice (about 3 medium lemons, juiced)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp lemon zest

3 cups blueberries

Directions:

Streusel:

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, oats, salt (because I only had salted butter on hand, I simply omitted the salt and used salted butter) and brown sugar together until well combined. Stir in the melted butter and mix well with your hands. The streusel mix should be crumbly but form clumps when squeezed.

  
Press half the streusel into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a greased, foil or parchment lined 9″ by 13″ baking pan (I found my one cup measure was a great tool for pressing and forming the streusel crust).

  
Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes, just until firm. Cool slightly.

Update: I reserved the egg white and beat it with 1Tbsp water to make an egg wash. I brushed with the egg wash the crust after it came out of the oven to make a barrier between the crust and the filling. It kept the crust from getting soggy and I didn’t have to waste the egg white!

  
Meanwhile, combine the egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour and sweetened condensed milk until smooth (I find that if you whisk together the egg and lemon zest and juice first the filling is most uniform. I have ended up with yellow flecks of egg yolk visible when I have just dumped everything in and then mixed it together). Stir in the blueberries. Spread the fruit filling over the crust.

  
Crumble the remaining streusel over the filling (I did not end up using all of the streusel). Bake for an additional 40 minutes, until the streusel topping is golden and crisp (after the initial 40 minutes, I cranked my oven up to 450 F and cooked an extra 5 minutes to color the streusel nicely but all ovens perform slightly different). Cool until warm over a rack, then refrigerate until cold before cutting into squares.

  


I really liked how these turned out and I loved that I could make them ahead of time and have them ready at a moments notice. The bars had a lot of crispy crunchy streusel and the blueberry lemon filling really came through. The filling was much easier than lemon curd based fillings that require you to whisk eggs over a double boiler until thickened. I left a little bit of parchment sticking out the sides to help me remove them from the pan and it made it much easier. I just ran a knife along the sides that did not have parchment and lifted it right out of the pan!

I served these after lunch but I think they were most appreciated by the early risers the next day. They made a great handheld breakfast to go along with a hot coffee on a cool morning fishing trip. I am excited to try some different flavor combinations. I would love to try a lemon raspberry, strawberry calamondin or blackberry key lime twist with this recipe.