Time for scones

A little leftover homemade ricotta inspires a scone-making project.

A little leftover homemade ricotta inspires a scone-making project.

It’s not often–never, really– that I have extra homemade ricotta cheese on hand. But I did this week, thanks to having prepared a batch of the tasty curds for a recipe developing gig. Much of it was going down my mate’s gullet, one spoonful at a time. Not a bad fate–I was happy he liked it so much–but I thought it could find new life in another recipe.

I also had a lovely little Meyer lemon in the fridge, plus a jar of chi-chi Nielsen-Massey bourbon vanilla sugar that I picked up at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco last week. Add a yen for scones, and I was ready to bake.

ricotta-scones1Meyer Lemon Ricotta Scones

If you substitute store-bought ricotta, be sure to use the whole milk variety. If you don’t have vanilla sugar to sprinkle on top of the scones, just use turbinado or even regular sugar.

6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon grated Meyer lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk ricotta

1/4 cup chilled butter, grated or cut into small pieces

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Cut in the ricotta and butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand, using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingers. Gently stir in the buttermilk. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead gently for 2 minutes (the dough is crumbly but holds together).

3. Place the dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut  the dough into 8 wedges (don’t separate the wedges). Use a pastry brush to brush the surface of the dough with egg; sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Bake at 400 degrees F for 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in a wire rack. Yield: 8 servings.