Easy Recipe: Raisin Tea Biscuits (or Scones)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

easy recipe for raisin tea biscuits scones

First of all, I want to say that I didn't know what to call the recipe. They're part English scone and part American biscuit, or maybe a sweet tea biscuit with raisins. I decided to call them tea biscuits because that's what I was aiming for when I made them.

When I was a child, my father used to bring home little slabs of cake and boxes of pastries tied with red-and-white swirls of thread. They were from a bakery near his workplace, on Tulip Avenue in Floral Park, New York. (Could this sound any more twee? Yes.) The bakery is called Tulip Bake Shop. I don't know how long it's been in the neighborhood for, but it looks like it's seen at least a couple of generations.

The things I remember are smooth and buttery pound cake slices, mille-feuille or Napoleon pastry, strawberry shortcake wedges, and my favorite: tea biscuits. These tea biscuits had a powdery effervescence that reminded me of Irish soda bread, but without the caraway seeds and dried fruit.

After my father's workplace moved to another town, he stopped bringing home little treats. On a whim a handful of years ago (or maybe more), my father and I were driving to go nowhere and decided to make a stop at Tulip Bake Shop. I'm pretty sure the only thing I left with was a tea biscuit.

Recently, I had a craving for them again and scoured the internet for a recipe that sounded close to Tulip Bake Shop's tea biscuits. Most tea biscuit recipes produced buttermilk biscuits, or biscuits closer to what you'd get out of a Pillsbury can. I wanted a slightly sweet, starchy yet moist, biscuit. Or was it really just an English scone?

I found one raisin tea biscuit recipe that seemed to be in the ballpark of what I was looking for, and I made a few changes. This resulted in the most moist, buttery, amazing biscuits ... they're not exactly the tea biscuits I was looking for (too buttery, not floury enough), but they're nevertheless delectable and going into my recipe box.

Raisin Tea Biscuits

Yields about a baker's dozen (13 biscuits)
Total time: about 1.5 hours

1/2 cup of raisins (or any dried or candied fruit you like)
warm water or orange juice
3 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
5 or 6 tablespoons of white sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup of milk

Before you begin, soak the raisins in either warm water or orange juice (for extra flavor). If you are soaking them in warm water, 10 to 15 minutes is enough, but if you're using orange juice, soak the raisins for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter cubes and mix with your fingers until the flour-butter mixture forms coarse crumbs. Stir in the milk and add the raisins.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll the dough out until it's about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter or, my favorite, the rim of a glass, cut the biscuits out of your dough.

I wanted a more floury biscuit, so I coated my baking sheets with a thin layer of flour, but you can use parchment paper or non-stick spray. Place the biscuits on the sheet and allow to sit for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, place the biscuits in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden.

easy recipe for raisin tea biscuits scones
easy recipe for raisin tea biscuits scones
easy recipe for raisin tea biscuits scones
easy recipe for raisin tea biscuits scones

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