While Meyer lemons seem to be in stores more often during the spring, Meyer lemon trees bear fruit all year round. This means that new flowers are budding right alongside ripe lemons, so there is never an off-season for these sweet, lovely lemons. I love working with Meyer lemons when I have the chance because they bring in lots of lemon flavor – just like regular lemons do – with the addition of a slightly floral sweetness that seems to make their flavor more intense. This is a long winded way of saying that they are very flavorful, so you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to use them if one comes up and these Meyer Lemon Coconut Scones are a great place to start.
The scones have a wonderful combination of fresh lemon and coconut flavor. They have a slightly crisp exterior and a tender interior, which is just soft enough to make me think of coconut cake instead of a dry biscuit. The scones have a nice buttery undertone that mellows out the bright lemon and ensures that it melds well with the coconut. I used sweetened, shredded coconut for this batch, but unsweetened coconut will also work in this recipe. If you want even more coconut flavor, you can add in a few drops of coconut extract along with the vanilla extract in the dough.
The lemon flavor comes from fresh Meyer lemon zest (so you can save the juice for another purpose). I would use the zest from 1 – 2 lemons, depending on how large your lemons are. The zest, which should be removed with a microplane, really has a tremendous amount of flavor. IF you don’t have Meyer lemons available, you can certainly substitute regular lemon zest, however I would cut back the amount of zest slightly so that the lemon doesn’t overwhelm the buttery coconut.
I served these scones with homemade lemon curd, so I didn’t put a glaze on top to add any extra lemon flavor. They would be excellent with a drizzle of lemon glaze – made with lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar- if you don’t have any lemon curd on hand and want to make the lemon more prominent. I finished my scones by brushing them with a bit of leftover buttermilk and sprinkling them with sugar. The buttermilk not only helps the sugar adhere to the scones, but it encourages a bit of browning and a more attractive finish. The scones are at their very best when they are fresh, so it is good to make and serve them on the same day, if you can.
Meyer Lemon Coconut Scones
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp Meyer lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, cold
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Add butter and rub in with your fingertips, until the mixture is sandy and no pieces of butter larger than a pea remain. This can also be done in the food processor, by pulsing in the butter.
Stir coconut, buttermilk and vanilla into the flour mixture, mixing until the dough comes together in a coarse, slightly sticky ball. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide it into two balls. Press each ball into a disc about 1-inch thick, then use a knife to cut each disc into 6 equal pieces. Arrange triangles on prepared baking sheet. Brush scones with a bit of buttermilk and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until scones are lightly browned. Allow scones to cool for at least 10 minutes on a wire rack before serving.