I’ve been pining a little for a visit back to the UK, I think when you miss family and friends you often turn to food for a little pick you up, and these scones have been on my mind more than a little bit over the last few weeks. I’ve tried several recipes in the past, from my catering Practical Cookery to Delia and never quite nailed them, these were fabulous!
It’s my gran’s recipe, post war so frugal on the fat and sugar front, light and fluffy, and never failed my mum. Got my hands on the recipe a couple of days ago and have been chomping at the bit to make them, they are just as good as I remembered them to be, even without the clotted cream, and even if I couldn’t wait to make a cup of tea and had to eat one still warm!
I’m going to try this without the sugar as a cobbler on top of a stew/casserole as I’m having real trouble finding suet for dumplings! You could in theory reduce the sugar for this, but I like them with a bit of sweetness. If you were making savoury scones then you would omit the sugar and add the same in weight of cheddar, and sprinkle a little on the tops before putting in the oven. To turn these into fruit scones, add a couple of ounces of dried fruit.
I used a 2 1/4 inch / 55mm crinkled edge cutter, I tried a 1 7/8 inch / 48mm one and the scones were far too small!
Pre heat your oven to gas mark 8, 230 deg C. (These were the temps I was given although my first batch cooked a little too quickly so I turned it down just a touch)
1 lb / 450 grams plain flour
3 teaspoons of baking soda, or 2 teaspoons cream of tartar and 1 of bicarbonate of soda
3oz / 100g butter
3oz / 100g caster sugar
1/2 pint / 275ml milk
Beat the egg and add the milk to it.
Put the flour, salt and baking soda into a big bowl, add the butter and rub it in until you have a breadcrumb/sandy consistency. Add the sugar and mix in.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add nearly all the milk, just keep a couple of tablespoons back for brushing on the tops of the scones. Mix it together with a spoon or spatula ( I have an inflexible scraper style one I use for mixing).
Lightly flour a baking tray, and liberally flour either a wooden board or a smooth work surface.
The dough will be quite sticky, if it is too wet to come out of the bowl add a bit more flour. Take half the batch, flour your hands and get it onto the worktop, pat it into a slab, moving it around the board or top making sure you have enough flour under it not to stick, until it is about 3/4 inch / 2cm thick. Get some flour on your cutter and cut out as many scones as you can.
Put onto your floured baking sheet, brush with the egg and milk mix and get them into the top part of the oven quickly, for 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them, you may need to turn the sheet round towards the end of cooking for even browning.
When your scones are a light golden brown, and if you pick them up in a clean teatowel, tap the bottom and hear a hollow sound they are cooked and ready to go onto your cooling rack. If the bottoms look a little dark like my first batch did turn your oven down a touch. These were my second batch, and look pretty damn great!
Once cool(enough to touch and not burn the roof of your mouth!), split in half, and smear with butter, jam and cream, mmmmmmmmm
If you would like these measures in cups, please visit http://www.suite101.com/content/failsafe-english-scone-recipe-a311255 and find my first article for Suite 101!