Barley has very little gluten, which means it needs another agent -- all-purpose flour, in this case -- to bind it. The barley flour and bits of butter ensure the tenderness of this crumbly scone, while the jam caramelizes at the edges.
Servings: 8 scones
- For the scones
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus more for greasing the baking sheet
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons barley flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 cup regular or low-fat buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- For assembly
- 1/2 cup strawberry jam or marmalade
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the scones: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a little butter to grease a rimmed baking sheet.
Sift the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl, pouring into the bowl any grains that may remain in the sifter. Add the butter, then use your hands or a pastry knife to break the butter into pieces the size of grains of rice. The quicker you work, the more solid the butter will remain, which is important.
Whisk together the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl, then pour it into the flour mixture and stir until barely combined.
Liberally flour a work surface. Transfer the dough to the surface and dust the top of it and your hands with additional flour, folding the dough a few times so it is not sticky.
Divide the dough in half. Flour your hands and pat each piece into a disk 7 inches across and about 3/4-inch thick. Use the pastry scraper to loosen the disks from the work surface.
To assemble: Spread 1 disk of dough with the strawberry jam or marmalade. Place the remaining disk on top, pressing down gently so the dough settles into the jam. Brush the top of the second disk with the melted butter, then sprinkle it with the sugar.
Use a sharp knife to cut the double-decker disk into 8 equal wedges. Carefully transfer them to the baking sheet, spaced a few inches apart. Bake on the middle rack for 22 to 26 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. The scones are ready when their tops are golden brown and some of the jam or marmalade has bubbled over onto the baking sheet.
Use a metal spatula to transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool slightly (and to keep them from sticking to the sheet as they cool).
Adapted from "Good to the Grain," by Kim Boyce with Amy Scattergood (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2010).
Tested by Samuel Fromartz.
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