The nights are drawing in and it’s the time of the year when I really need a nice comforting hot drink when I get back from work cold and wet. And nothing goes better with a steaming hot cup of tea than a lovely scone …
Scones are quintessentially British and I’m pleased to report of Scottish origin, although the word scones itself could apparently originates from the Dutch schoonbrood (fine white bread), from schoon (pure, clean) and brood (bread). Thanks Wikipedia for enlightening me! No afternoon tea would be complete without a big pile of scones with clotted cream and jam!
I have tried many recipes, regular, griddle, sweet, savoury, wholemeal, with or without fruits … there are so many of them! This is the basic recipe I prefer, never fails and you can easily adapt it! I have “borrowed” it from Gary Rhodes’ “New British Classics” – I thought I’d let you know, that book is brilliant for, well you’ve guessed it, British classics!
Gary Rhodes Home-made Scones
Ingredients: (makes 8-10 scones)
225g (8 oz) self rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
25g (1 oz) caster sugar
50g (2 oz) unsalted butter
[Note: An extra 50g (2 oz) butter can be added to give a richer finish.]
150ml (1/4 pint) milk 1 egg, beaten, or plain flour, for brushing or dusting
1. Preheat oven to 220oC (425oF).
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Stir in the sugar, add the slightly softened butter and rub quickly into the flour, creating a fine breadcrumb consistency. Add the milk, a little at a time, working to a smooth dough. This is now best left to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling.
3. Roll on a lightly floured work surface until 2 cm (3/4 of an inch) thick. Using a 5 cm (2 inches) pastry cutter, cut the dough, using one sharp tap and not twisting the dough as you cut. Twisting the scone mix will result in an uneven rise. Once the scones have been cut, any trimmings can be worked together and re-cut until all of the mix has been used.
Note: I often use another technique - I roll the dough like a big sausage, 5 cm in diameter, and with a sharp knife, cut out 2 cm slices. This technique avoids doing all the re-mixing of the trimmings, re-rolling and re-cutting as above. You need a sharp knife though to cut neat slices, otherwise, they will not rise evenly.
4. Once cut, the scones can either be brushed with the beaten egg for a shiny glaze, or dusted with flour for a matt finish. Be careful not to let any of the egg mixture drip down the sides of the scones.
Note: You can also brush them with a bit of milk (less messy!).
5. Place the scones on a greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and serve while still warm.
Gary's suggestions: 50g (2 oz) of mixed sultanas and currants can be added for fruity scones. The sugar can be omitted for plain savoury scones, 50g (2 oz) of grated parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese can be added, with a good pinch of english mustard, for homemade cheese scones. Freshly chopped thyme can also be added to the savoury scones.
Pepette's suggestions: You can use half and half wholemeal and plain flour for wholemeal scones, but do not use too much wholemeal flour (max 3/4) as the dough becomes really crumbly and impossibly difficult to roll out.