May Day and Miniature Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

While at college, my roommate Bethany introduced me to that joy abundant that is the BBC miniseries. Nothing so calms the American soul as 4-6 hours spent watching our mother nation have perfectly scripted intrigue in period drama attire.  There is a security in the predictability of a BBC period drama, a contentment that it will finish conclusively, even if not perfectly.

During the Endless Snow that was Kentucky’s past winter, I introduced my good friends Rachel and Susannah to the perfection of a BBC miniseries. We spent many of my snow days bundled on Rachel’s couch eating Magee’s pastries, drinking tea, and watching the BBC women of old. On one particularly cold day, we watched part 5 of Cranford, in which the ladies of Cranford turn out for a May Day celebration. We turned our cold faces to each other and decided instantly that we MUST hold a May Day celebration if the snow ever thawed.

And eventually, it did, and spring came, and everything was all right again.

When May 1st rolled around, we were finally ready, and our party would have made any traditional May Day gathering proud. Susannah designed beautiful paper invites (invites? They’re those paper things people sent out to get you to come to a party before facebook came along with its pesky invites.), Rachel made centerpieces of spring flowers in mason jars, and I made yards of pale bunting to string through the trees along with the numerous Japanese lanterns remaining from Susannah’s wedding. Little sandwiches, tiny vegetable skewers, and gorgeous cupcakes sat on white lace table clothes, and ice cubes with mint leaves frozen inside chilled lemonade and sweet tea.  The boys in bowties played croquet or badminton, while girls with flower crowns ran around with our miniature hand-held  May Day poles. In a word, it was perfect.  Susannah, whom I have mentioned before is a fantastic wedding photographer, did an entire photo spread on the event and you can see it here.

Of course, you cannot pay homage to the British anything without scones. These were our May Day scones, adapted liberally from a recipe on Smitten Kitchen for cranberry sweet cream scones.

Miniature Lemon Poppyseed Scones

juice and zest from 2 lemons

additional 2 table spoons lemon juice (more if you really like lemon)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder
 (yes, a full Tablespoon)

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter

¼ cup poppy seeds

1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

1 cup heavy cream

the remaining egg white (for brushing)

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine zest, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. I usually grate the cold butter on a cheese grater and then work it in with my hands.
  3. Combine cream, egg, yolk, and lemon juice. Lightly whip and then add poppy seeds. Add to flour mixture and stir until just combined
  4. On a well floured surface, pat dough into 1 inch thick rounds about 6 inches in diameter. Cut across three times to make 6 triangles. Arrange triangles 1 inch apart on baking sheet, brush with remaining egg white, and bake until pale golden, approximately 10-14 minutes (15-20 for regular sized scones).

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4 Responses to May Day and Miniature Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

  1. bkjergaard says:

    One day we will watch the bbc together again. This party looks so fun and beautiful! I would say it looks better than 90% of the weddings I attend!

  2. abby says:

    I have just died with joy and jealousy. Real people can have parties like this. It’s not just the faux-celebrities on the internet.

    And yes, that party looked better than my wedding. And better than most (maybe all?) that I have attended recently, too.

  3. Pingback: Shower Power and Flower(s) and Flour | The Art in Life

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