Well-worn cookbooks, lists of ingredients and recipe ideas, potential menus, all leading up to whatever is going to be for dinner that night. And not only does this go on during major holidays, it also happens on run-of-the-mill Wednesdays as well. She approaches dinner as an art form, and it was not unusual for us to come home from school and hear that frog legs were on the menu…or stuffed grape leaves made with grape leaves picked from the back yard, or homemade lo mein with scallion pancakes, or turkey vegetable barley soup that had simmered on the stove all day. Our sandwiches were made on her homemade bread made from the sourdough starter that was always on her counter. And on the best days of all, her cream scones would be cooling on a rack, with the aroma of currants and sugar in the air.
Now I’m not saying that we didn’t have our fair share of burgers (one of her favorite approaches was to spread seasoned ground beef on a slice of that bread, broil it until the meat was cooked into the bread, and serve it up for dinner under the exotic name of Greek Hamburgers) and macaroni and cheese with peas on the side (and there was one suppertime involving peas and forks with the peas being used as projectiles and the forks being used as launchers that I think resulted in all four of us losing dessert for a week), but even those suppers had my mom’s magic touch. But through all of it, there’s nothing I loved with the devotion that I loved her scones.
So with thanks to my mama, and a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you, here’s the best Irish recipe I know…
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup cold butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup currants, raisins or other dried fruit
- Preheat oven to 425. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until well-combined.
- Mix together cream, vanilla and eggs. Take 2 tablespoons out of this mixture and set aside.
- Add liquid mixture to dry mixture, add currants and mix as lightly as possible until just combined.
- Pat dough into a 12 inch circle and cut it into 12 wedges. Arrange them on the cookie sheet, tucking the pointed ends underneath.
- Brush the tops with the reserved cream mixture and sprinkle with a little sugar (you can use regular but sometimes my mom uses the coarse decorative sugar crystals.)
- Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a rack for as long as you can stand it before you dive in.