The King’s Speech is a subtle, quiet film whose sophisticated charms have made it a favorite to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Likewise, these cherry-vanilla scones are a subtle, quiet treat whose sophisticated charms will make them a sure-fire favorite at your Oscar party. And while some have accused The King’s Speech of being riddled with historical errors, these scones are riddled with delicious cherries.
These scones are a little easier to make than most scone recipes, but they’re every bit as tasty. They have a firm buttery crumb (as a scone should) and the cherry’s tartness and vanilla’s sweetness complement one another wonderfully. If you make these in advance, they should be fine for a couple of days if you keep them covered, so they’re a perfect make-ahead treat for your Oscar party.
Vanilla and Dried Cherry Scones (adapted from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4” section of vanilla bean, halved
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the cream until it’s steamy and just bubbling at the sides. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add the beans and pod to the cream. Turn off heat and steep the vanilla in the cream for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, dried cherries, and lemon zest. Remove the vanilla pods from the cream, and stir the cream into the flour mixture, just until the dough starts to stick together. Remove dough from the bowl and gently knead on a lightly floured surface to form a roughly 8” circle. Brush the disc with melted butter and sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Cut the dough round into 8 even triangles. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 17 minutes, until the scones have puffed up and are light golden brown.
Cool briefly and serve with tea, butter, and jam.