Biscuits and scones by Heather Bertinetti, the pastry chef at Four Seasons. Pictures: The New York Times

Makes 8-12 biscuits or scones

The scone is a confection in crisis. Puffy and pale, super-sized and super sweet, it has lost its purpose. Is it a muffin? Is it a pastry? Does it exist to be frosted with icing, spread with jam or only to crumble into the crevices of car upholstery? This need not be. To taste a lofty, tender scone just as it should be, all you need are 30 minutes and basic pantry ingredients. 

And once you’ve mastered scones, you’ll automatically know how to make biscuits. All that separates them is two tablespoons of sugar and an egg.

The addition of sugar and egg turns this recipe for biscuits into a recipe for scones. The notes at the bottom of the recipe have amounts and instructions for making scones.

Ingredients

3 cups flour
1tbs baking powder
115g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup heavy cream
3tbs melted butter (for biscuits) or 2 eggs beaten with 1tbs water (for scones)

Method

Heat oven to 160°C. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or baking mat, or use a non-stick pan.
Toss dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Using your fingertips or a pastry cutter, rub butter and flour mixture together just until butter pieces are the size of peas and covered with flour.
Make a well in the centre of the bowl and pour in cream. Mix ingredients together by hand until a shaggy dough is formed. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead together until smooth and all ingredients are incorporated.
Pat dough into a 2cm to 2,5cm thick rough rectangle. Use your hands if you like a bumpy top; for smooth tops, use a rolling pin, pressing lightly.
Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then cut across into 8 or 12 rectangles or squares. Place them on the baking sheet, spaced out.
Brush tops with melted butter (for biscuits) or egg wash (for scones). Bake until light golden brown, about 22 minutes; rotate the pan front to back halfway through.
Let cool slightly on the baking sheet. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Biscuits and scones by Heather Bertinetti, the pastry chef at Four Seasons. Pictures: The New York Times

Biscuits and scones by Heather Bertinetti, the pastry chef at Four Seasons. Pictures: The New York Times

FOR THE SCONES:

Add 2 tablespoons sugar to the dry ingredients. With the cream, add 1 lightly beaten egg. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. To make orange-currant scones, make changes above. Additionally, mix freshly grated zest of 1 orange or tangerine with the dry ingredients. When mixing or kneading the dough, add 1 cup currants and knead just until incorporated

The New York Times

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