Tomorrow, on St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be baking up some Irish scones. And I’ll be thinking fondly of Ireland and Mary Burns.
Mary is a resourceful dairy farmer in County Cork who took over the family farm when her husband died, preserving a heritage of more than 150 years. Milk from her Friesian cows goes into Kerrygold dairy products, as well as into her own farmhouse cheeses. Mary is the revered maker of a delicious, handmade cheese called Ardrahan, found in specialty stores and some restaurants here in the U.S.
On a business trip to Ireland with Kerrygold a few years ago, we all had the pleasure of taking tea with Mary at her farmhouse, where we were charmed by her Irish stories, as we sat at her table devouring fresh-baked scones, crisp on the outside, moist and tender on the inside, and dotted with raisins. Sweetly fragrant and still warm from the oven, we spread the scones liberally with Irish butter, which melted into the crumb.
You can transport yourself to Ireland with Mary’s scone recipe and Kerrygold Butter, made in Ireland and sold almost everywhere in the U.S. today. The milk from grass-fed cows defines the rich flavor and remarkable natural yellow color of the butter. Honestly, you can taste the difference.
Mary Burns’s Irish Scones
1 3/4 cups (about 8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling over tops
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cold Kerrygold Butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg, plus additional beaten egg for brushing over tops
Heat oven to 425° F. Sift together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Using fingertips or pastry blender, rub or cut the butter into flour mixture to form coarse crumbs. Add raisins. Whisk together milk and 1 egg. Make a well in the flour mixture; pour in milk mixture. Using fork, stir just until soft, moist dough is formed.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface; gently knead 1 or 2 times to incorporate loose pieces of dough. (Do not over knead.) Pat dough to 1 1/2-inch thickness. Using well-floured 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter or bottom of a glass, cut out about 6 rounds, recombining scraps as necessary. Place rounds on lightly buttered baking sheet. Brush tops with additional beaten egg; sprinkle with additional sugar.
Bake until golden brown, about 14 to 17 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking for more even browning. Serve warm with Kerrygold Irish Butter and jam.
Makes about 6 scones
Note: These scones are more muffin-like in texture; dough will be moist and wet, which ensures a tender texture.
I used currants instead of raisins, which disperses the fruity sweetness.
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