Monday, 2 May 2011

Scones....oh yes please!

As May marks the start of the British strawberry season, I thought it only appropriate to dedicate a suitably accompanying recipe.

The humble scone is a crucial part of afternoon tea, with which I am very acquainted.  Sandwiches, oatcakes with scottish smoked salmon, scones with strawberry jam and cream of course, and a selection of cakes, or sometimes petit four.

Although very early in the season to be making jam, as the fruits are perhaps not as sweet as by the time Wimbledon approaches, you may have some jam hanging around the house from last years crop.  Neither? not to worry - the supermarkets stock it all year round! hoorah!

400g self-raising flour
2tsp of baking powder
2 tbsp of golden caster sugar
80g softened butter, diced
1 egg
250ml buttermilk
Cream and Jam to serve

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a large baking sheet or tray with baking parchment.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl.  Add the sugar and stir together.  Dice the butter and add it to the flour blend.  Use your fingertips to rub the butter and flour together, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Unlike some other recipes, where this 'rubbing' technique is used, there is a low flour to butter ratio, and so you will find that the mixture is not as breadcrumby as, say, the banana loaf recipe.

Once the butter is rubbed in, make a well in the centre of the mixture.  Break the egg into the well and lightly whisk it with a fork.  Add a little of the butter milk mixture to the well and bring it together with a knife.  Add the rest of the buttermilk, a little at a time until fully incorporated.  If you have an electric mixer, with a dough hook attachment, then use this instead, pouring a little of the buttermilk in at a time, until the dough is slightly sticky and combined.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough lightly and then roll it to a thickness of 2-3cms.  Using a cutted, I like to use a fluted round one, cut your scones from the rolled dough.  You might like to use a fun shape, like a star or heart - these can work just as well.  Place the scones onto the baking tray, brush them with a little milke - on the top only - and pop them into the oven, on the middle shelf, for 10-15 minutes, until they are golden on top and hollow to a rat-a-tat-tat on top.

Let them cool on a wire rack.  I like to serve them with jam and whipped cream.  Others prefer clotted cream, or just butter and jam.  Personally, I am a jam first and cream on top kind of a girl, but the order of assembly is entirely your own choice!


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