Tartine's Buttermilk Scones

Tartine's Buttermilk Scones

I had a slight panic attack this morning because we ran out of eggs and bread. ON A SUNDAY MORNING. I have no idea how I allowed that to happen; those two items are pretty much the only things we eat in the AMs. 


Luckily I found some leftover buttermilk from Thanksgiving and quickly whipped up these scones before anyones was up in the apartment. Scones are quick bread made without yeast, and doesn't involve eggs!


The battle between the British and American scones, according the Cook's Illustrated, is between the fat content. British scones have a much lower fat content, which is made up by a generous slather of of butter and jam when you eat them. 

To me, the difference between the two really lies in their shape and what time during the day I eat them at. British scones are eaten only at Devonshire tea, a light meal in the afternoon. They also must be circular and crack open down the center horizontally as the dough rises in the oven. 


This recipe is somewhere in the middle; it has a high butter content, but I dialed down the sugar so it can be enjoyed with lots of jam (E's favourite). I only added meyer lemon peel for a mellow zing, but feel free to add in any fixins' like dried fruits, nuts, chocolate or even cream cheese!!

Tartine's Buttermilk Scones

Makes 8. Adapted from Alexandra Cooks.

If you're feeding a large crowd, this recipe can be easily doubled. Add in around 1 cup of any toppings of your choice.

For the Glaze:
1 tablespoon melted butter
3-4 tablespoons sprinkling sugar, such as demerara or turbinado, or even granulated sugar

For the scones:
2 ⅜ cups all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon baking powder
⅜ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated meyer lemon zest
8 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
¾ cup buttermilk

  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add in sugar, salt and lemon zest and stir to combine. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and scatter the cubes over the dry ingredients. Using your finger tips or a pastry blender or the back of a fork, quickly cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Make sure the butter doesn't start melting. If it does, put the mixing bowl in the fridge for 5-10 minutes and continue.
  3. When the butter is evenly dispersed in the flour in pea-sized lumps, mix in your choice of topping. Add the buttermilk all at once along and gently fold the mixture together with a spatula until the dough forms a scraggy mass. If the mixture seems dry, add a little bit more buttermilk.
  4. Dust your work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Gently knead the dough until it forms into a smooth dough. Beware not to knead it too much or it will start to form gluten. Using your hands, pat the dough into a circular disk about 1 ½ inches thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the disk into 8 wedges. 
  5. Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Transfer the triangles to the prepared baking sheet and bake until the tops of the scones are lightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
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