Winter food can get dull. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pot pie or stew, and lord knows I could eat my weight in mashed potatoes, but after a while, I just want to eat fresh produce that isn’t a) a root vegetable, or b) kale. I love them both, but being at least three months away from really great berries and five away from a tomato that is good enough to be eaten like an apple has got me in a winter produce funk.
This happens every year though, until that wonderful, shining moment when I remember winter citrus. It’s a welcome taste of sunshine in the midst of all the wind and snow. Meyer lemons and key limes and clementines are all in season, waiting to be made into cakes and pies, or even thrown into salads! But the thing that always gets me is the grapefruit. Being from Texas, I prefer Ruby Red, but those are hard to come by in New York City. White and pink are delicious and all, but Ruby Red is just a cut above. It’s a little sweeter than other varieties, but still bitter enough to taste like grapefruit. Imagine my surprise when, after years of not seeing one Ruby Red in New York, I saw a whole box at my local green grocer. And they were on sale! Without a second thought, I grabbed two, handed over some change and ran home to make these scones.
I love a good scone. Soft in the middle with crunchy edges, not too sweet, great with a huge cup of coffee or tea. But good scones are hard to come by at coffee shops–they can be dry and cakey throughout, with very little depth of flavor. They’re simply not worth the cash or the calories, as far as I’m concerned. But these scones? They’re soft and buttery, sweetened with just a bit of honey and sugar, dotted with juicy pieces of fresh grapefruit, and topped with sea salt both for crunch and because sea salt and grapefruit are divine together. It may sound a little odd, but the salt makes the sweetness of the grapefruit shine. It’s so, so good.
These scones are quick and easy to whip up, and take less than an hour start-to-finish. Mix together some half-and-half and honey, and put it in the fridge to chill while you prepare the other ingredients. Use your fingers to rub the zest of one grapefruit into two tablespoons of granulated sugar until it’s well-combined and a little pasty (it’s better than it sounds). Peel that zested grapefruit and segment it, trying to avoid as much of the pith, membrane, and seeds as possible. This will keep the grapefruit from making the scones too bitter. Don’t worry too much about having perfect segments–they’ll break apart anyway when they’re mixed into the dough.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and the zest-sugar mixture. This may look a little clumpy because of the oils in the zest, but it’ll all even out with the other ingredients. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut in one stick of cold butter until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Then use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the half-and-half mixture and the segmented grapefruit. The dough will be pretty wet, but should still have some body to it.
Turn the dough out onto a very well-floured surface. Don’t skimp on the flour. If you do, you’ll have dough stuck to everything and probably start cursing my name, and that’s no good when there are awesome scones to be had! Flour your hands and pat the dough into a 1-inch thick disc. Use a sharp knife or bench scraper (my tool of choice) to cut the disc into eight wedges. Transfer the wedges to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 425F for 18-20 minutes, until cooked-through and light golden. Then stir up a glaze with some confectioner’s sugar and the juice of a second grapefruit, drizzle it over the scones, and sprinkle with crunchy coarse sea salt! All you need is a hot cup of coffee or tea and some good company 😊
Break out of the heavy winter food rut with these Salted Grapefruit Scones! Sweet and salty, soft and buttery, they’re a wonderful way to start these cold, snowy days.
Salted Grapefruit Scones
makes 8 scones
3/4 cup half-and-half + more for brushing, very cold
2 tablespoons honey
2 medium Ruby Red grapefruits**, divided
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into pieces
3/4-1 cup confectioner’s sugar
coarse sea salt*, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set a cooling rack over a piece of wax paper. Set aside.
Whisk together half-and-half and honey, and place it in the refrigerator to stay cold.
Zest one grapefruit. In a small bowl, rub together the zest and the granulated sugar. Set aside.
Peel the zested grapefruit, and segment it, removing as much of the pith and membranes as possible, as well as all of the seeds. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and zest-sugar mixture. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Add in the half-and-half mixture and grapefruit segments and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to incorporate them into a wet dough, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add up to 2 tablespoons more flour.
Turn the dough out onto a very well floured surface and use floured hands to pat it into a 1-inch thick disc. Flour a sharp knife (not serrated) or bench scraper and use it to cut the dough into eight wedges. Remove wedges to prepared pan, and brush the tops with additional half-and-half. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until light golden. Let scones cool on the pan for five minutes before removing to the prepared rack.
Make the glaze. Slice the second grapefruit in half. Seed one half of the grapefruit and squeeze the juice into a small bowl. Pour confectioner’s sugar into a second small bowl and add two tablespoons of the fresh grapefruit juice. Whisk with a fork until no lumps remain, adding juice or confectioner’s sugar until the glaze is to the desired consistency. Use a fork or small squeeze bottle to drizzle the glaze over the scones. Sprinkle wet glaze with coarse sea salt. Enjoy!
Glaze will fully set after a couple of hours. Scones are best the day they are made, but may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
1. My grapefruits were about the size of a large orange.
2. If you can’t find Ruby Red, white or pink grapefruits may be substituted.
3. I use Trader Joe’s Pyramid Salt.