Homemade tart cherry scones packed with dried Montmorency tart cherries, fresh orange zest, and a hint of almond flavor. These delicious scones are topped with a simple orange glaze.
Number 1 tip: keep all the ingredients as cold as possible! Chill the flour in the fridge ahead of time if possible (10-20 minutes). BUTTER: Start by cutting the butter into small cubes. Place in the freezer to chill until needed.
DRY INGREDIENTS: in a large bowl, combine the orange zest and sugar. Rub the two together with your fingers until the sugar is fully infused with the orange zest. Add in the baking powder, salt, and flour. Whisk until ingredients are combined.
WET INGREDIENTS: in a small bowl whisk together the 1/2 cup of heavy cream, egg, vanilla paste or extract, and almond extract. Whisk until smooth.
ADD BUTTER: Add the frozen cubed butter into the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender cut the butter into the scones until the butter is evenly dispersed and the size of small peas. Make a well in the center of the ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. With a wooden spoon gently combine the ingredients until a dough begins to form. As soon as a dough begins to form, add in the dried cherries. Mix as little as possible -- just until everything is moistened and mostly combined.
FORM SCONES: very lightly flour a surface and pour the mixture onto the surface. With lightly floured hands, gently work (we want to handle the dough as little as possible while still getting it into a cohesive disc) the dough into a ball. (If the dough is too sticky, add a tiny bit more flour; if it is too dry add 1-2 tablespoons additional cream.) Press into a disc and cut exactly in half. Form each disc gently into a smaller disc about 5 inches wide. Chill the discs, wrapped tightly for 10 minutes in the fridge. Remove and cut (with a very sharp knife) each disc into 8 equal wedges. Try to cut each wedge in one decisive cut (don’t shimmy the knife through the wedge). Place wedges on a parchment paper (or silpat) lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart from each other. Pour remaining 2 (3 if needed) tablespoons heavy cream into a small dish. Using a pastry brush, brush the cream over the scones. Sprinkle with sparkling/coarse sugar if desired.
REFRIGERATE: Place the pan with the scones on them in the fridge and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
BAKE: bake for 17-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. (Remember overbaking scones will make them less flavorful and a denser texture so watch carefully. Mine generally take right around 19-20 minutes.) Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing, using a metal spatula, to a cooling rack.
GLAZE: Whisk together the glaze ingredients -- the powdered sugar and orange juice. Add additional juice for a thinner glaze as desired. Drizzle over COMPLETELY cooled scones. Let set and then enjoy.