I learned to love cooking from Dad…after he retired and when he was ill, he spent a lot of time watching shows such as Julia Child and Justin Wilson…he even loved imitating their manner of speech and action. It was such fun. Dad would try so many recipes – I actually inherited all of the recipes he collected. He always wanted to learn how to make biscuits…I am wishing to learn how to make the English scone.
One of the things Dad had a hard time with was baking bread and biscuits…no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t master it. Now if I hadn’t mastered the biscuit, I’d be in trouble, because Dearest loves them so much. A meal is not a meal without a biscuit.
This is my challenge. I have been trying time and again to get this right – to get a moist, delicious scone…one worthy of the English tradition. Mine always come out too flat or too dry…
Not Just a Sweet Biscuit
Apparently, we in America like to make our scones sweet and flavorful. Traditionally, the scone in England has less fat and less sugar. The addition of raisins or sultanas is about as far as most like to take it.
Where do they get their sweet?
It’s in the jam that they slather over it! How wonderful all of the glorious berries they have – and the cream – clotted cream – on top. That’s a recipe I’m going to find too!
Tender, Soft, Warm
These are the descriptions you want in your scones…just how:
- soft flour – some use self rise – some don’t
- incorporate the butter/fat completely – get a real breadcrumb texture
- just combine the liquid ingredients – don’t over work the dough
- allow the dough to rest – some recommended in the fridge – some on the counter
- don’t twist the cutter when making the scones. Three key terms – dip the cutter in the flour, tap the excess and cut. dip-tap-cut
- bake at high temp – 400 to 500, like a biscuit and serve hot!
Give it a try! I’m going to continue to experiment with recipes – this one is quite delightful – definitely with a slather of strawberry jam!
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose or cake flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. butter - cold
- 1 egg
- 1/4-1/3 buttermilk
- egg wash
- 1 egg
- splash milk
combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut the cold butter into cubes and with your hands incorporate all of the butter. Shake the bowl to bring up the larger lumps. Bring the flour-butter mixture up in your hands and rub your hands back and forth to aid in incorporating the butter - you want a complete breadcrumb texture. Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture. Whisk the egg and combine with the buttermilk. Pour into the well and gently stir together. Add additional buttermilk until the dough just forms a soft ball - the texture should be similar to soft play dough. Add the raisins. Cover and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Lightly flour the board or surface, turn over the dough onto the flour; flour your hands and press down forming a disk. You can roll out the dough as you wish - to about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in depth. Dip your cutter into the flour; tap off the excess and cut lifting directly up; place the scone on a prepared baking sheet (I like using parchment paper) continue and work until you've used all or nearly all of the dough - prepare the egg wash by mixing the egg and milk thoroughly. Lightly brush on the tops of the scone the egg wash. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.