Between all the little lambs being born at the farm lately, the lilacs in full voluptuous bloom, and the multitude of rhubarb desserts I've been consuming, things have been good. Very, very good. Actually, it's impossible not to be ridiculously happy when surrounded by little wee ones that look like this:
I recently got to see a lamb being born and I wanted to share it with you on video because it was quite special. (Did you know they can stand up within an hour of being born! Takes us a whole year!!) Don't worry, I haven't given up on recipe videos and I've got a good one coming your way next week for strawberry-rhubarb sorbet served in ice bowls, which I can't wait to share with you! But today, you get newborn lambs and a recipe for lilac scones and rhubarb curd, below. Enjoy :-)
I wanted to capture the intoxicating perfume of lilacs in a recipe since I found out recently that they are edible.
And I have had scones on the brain, ever since I read Remedial Eating's blogpost about buttermilk scones. Remedial Eating is one of my all-time favorite blogs both for its magical stories and the artful way photos of daily family life and food are paired together. The beauty of Molly's buttermilk scones is that they are, as she puts it, "Plain, simple scones. White flour, white sugar, buttermilk, butter scones. These scones have no whole grains, no ground oats, no spelt. No zaps of candied ginger, no chew of dried cherry…" and as she says, "sometimes, simple is very, very good". I whole-heartedly agree! But I had to make one small addition because here's the thing: I have been dreaming of a lilac scone. So I hope Molly will forgive me for adding lilac blossoms to these already perfect scones. In every other way, I stayed true to her recipe which was everything she said it would be: tender, flaky, buttery. As far as the lilacs go, the flavor is so subtle that I missed it on the first scone. And the second. So of course, I had to have a third! And that's when I caught it, ever so faint and delicate. That's why I've increased the amounts of blossoms to 1 cup in the recipe (I used about 3/4 cup). It seems that either way, the perfume gets somewhat lost in the baking, but it's worth adding the lilacs, even if only for the sheer joy of inhaling and watching the delicate blossoms speckled into the rich batter.
I decided to make rhubarb curd to go with these scones because I am a die-hard lover of lemon curd and when I first heard about rhubarb curd (in the dead of winter), I carefully filed it away in the must-make-this-when-spring-comes drawer of my brain. And these scones are the perfect vehicle for big gobs of tart and sweet and rhubarby curd. Mmmmm.
3 cups chopped rhubarb
A handful of strawberries for colour and flavour (otherwise, the curd can be quite yellow from the yolks - I also used a few drops of beet juice to add rosiness)
Juice from one small lemon (around 2 tbsp)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
7 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
Pinch of sea salt
Put the rhubarb, juice of half a lemon, sugar and water in a small pot and simmer gently until rhubarb is soft. Blend into a smooth puree.
Whisk egg yolks, remaining sugar, and salt in a double boiler until warm. Gradually add the rhubarb puree, stirring vigorously between each addition. Do not allow the mixture to boil or the eggs will curdle (yuck! rhubarb omelette!)
Once the consistency is rich and thick, remove from heat and gradually add butter, stirring until melted. Cool the curd and bottle up in jars. Refrigerate.
3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling (or use turbinado, on top)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbs. salted butter, well chilled
1 cup full-fat buttermilk, well shaken
1 cup of lilac blossoms
Preheat oven to 425°. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Over bowl, cut butter into small bits, dropping them into the flour mixture as you go. Work butter and flour together with fingers, until butter is about pea-sized at its largest. Add your lilac blossoms, removed from the stems (no green part). Give buttermilk a good shake, then pour into the flour-butter mixture, and fold together until you can pull the dough into a rough ball (mix as little as possible). Dust surface with clean flour and roll out to a half inch of thickness. Cut into triangles and place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with coarse sugar (turbinado is best) and a few more blossoms if you wish, and bake until golden at the edges, around 12-16 minutes. Eat when warm out of the oven.