Delicious right from the oven—these flaky scones are flavored with orange zest and Zante currants, an ancient seedless grape cultivar known as “Black Corinth”.
The humble Zante currant is, in fact, one of the oldest known raisins; its lineage the bearer of a somewhat romantic history. The first known written record was in 75 AD by Pliny the Elder who described it as a tiny, black-skinned grape growing in small bunches. The next mention—a full millennium later—appeared when the raisins became a subject of trade between Venetian merchants and Greek producers from the Ionian coast. Later, they would sold in the English market as Reysyns de Corauntz, and the name raisins of Corinth was recorded in the 15th century, after the Greek port which was the primary harbor of export. Gradually, the name transmuted into currant. By the 17th century, trade shifted once again towards the Ionian islands, particularly Zakynthos (Zante), at which time it was christened the Zante currant.
So pour yourself a strong cup of coffee, and roll up your sleeves. These scones are well worth the effort.
- 3 Cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 Cup sugar
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
- 2 Tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 Cups Zante currants
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon chilled buttermilk
- Turbinado sugar
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Sift together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl.
- Add the orange zest. Incorporate the butter, using fingertips to until mixture resembles coarse meal. Work in dried cranberries. Gradually add buttermilk, tossing with fork until moist clumps form.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly just enough to bind dough into a ball. Form dough into 1-inch-thick round and cut into 8 wedges. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake until they are golden brown, and the centers are cooked all the way through, about 25 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet 10 minutes. Serve immediately.