Inspired Recipe: Classic Scones with a French Vanilla Glaze
When I read Trapeze by Simon Mawer, I was continually impressed and inspired by the way the main character, Marian Sutro, shifted from one personality to another. As a female embedded in France to spy for the English during World War II, she was constantly drawing on her Swiss upbringing to transition between language-based identities. As Marian travels across Europe, through cities and farms, it becomes more and more apparent that no matter how carefully constructed your cover is, too many secrets and it will crumble. That brings us to this week's inspired recipe, classic English scones topped with a French vanilla glaze.
Scones are one of those quintessential items that really personifies a country's cuisine. They conjure up images of high tea, British accents, fancy table settings and teeny, tiny spoons (like the one pictured below). French vanilla glaze may not actually hail from France but it is a nod to the rich-yet-delicate nature of that country's desserts. Combined, the two depict Marian's identity issues almost literally, with a French cover attempting to hide the British base underneath but not really succeeding. Instead, we get something that's a little British and a little French with every bite. Therein lies Marian's problem.
CLASSIC ENGLISH SCONES
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter or margarine (chilled)
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425°F and line baking sheets with wax paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Drop butter into the mixture in 1/2-inch chunks. Using a potato masher, smash the butter into the dry mix until the contents resemble coarse crumbs.
In a separate small bowl, combine the cream, egg and vanilla. Once well-mixed, add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture.
With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into a 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured cutting board or countertop. Using a floured 2-1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out rounds from the dough and place them on the baking sheet. If you don't have a cookie cutter, you can use a glass instead. Gather the scraps together and repeat until all the dough is used.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool, then serve with French vanilla glaze (recipe below!) and a berry jam of your choice.
FRENCH VANILLA GLAZE
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup French vanilla flavored coffee creamer
Using an electric mixer, blend cream cheese, sugar and creamer in a bowl. Spread on top of or inside warm sliced scones. Add jam if you'd like
Now that you’re good and hungry, read our recommendation of the book that inspired this recipe: Trapeze.