The weather has been so nice this week that I decided to invite all my old friends round for afternoon tea and you can’t have an English afternoon tea without freshly baked scones! It was a nice day so we ate them outside with lightly whipped cream and fresh strawberries. The sun was shining, the berries were sweet and flavoursome and it truly felt like summer had finally arrived.
Scones are so simple to make that you can go from raw ingredients to taking a bite of scone in only half an hour. In fact the fresher they are eaten the butter. In my last post I mentioned that I would like to bake more with buttermilk and as I had some leftover buttermilk in the fridge I replaced the milk called for it the scone recipe with buttermilk. The resulting scones were wonderful. They rose well and were light and tender with a soft interior crumb. Baking scones, like when making pasty, is one of the few times when you want your butter cold. The process of rubbing cold butter into the flour helps create a light and fluffy scone, as fine buttery layers trap little pockets of air which help it bake tall. Its amazing how something so simple and containing so few ingredients can taste so good. Why not bake a batch to enjoy with your strawberries and cream while watching Wimbledon.
225g self raising flour
20g caster sugar
50g cold butter
Lightly whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 220C. Have a clean, dry baking tray ready, but there is no need to grease it.
Place the flour and sugar into a bowl, cut the cold butter into cubes and add to the bowl.
Gently rub the butter and flour between the tips of your fingers, lifting the mixture up to the rim of the bowl and letting it fall back into the bowl as you do so. Continue until no large butter clumps remain.
Pour over the butter milk and use a round bladed knife to bring the mixture together until it begins to form a dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until it forms a flaky dough. Do not overwork or your scones will be tough.
Press or roll the dough out until it is around 2cm/2.5cm thick. Use a 5cm cutter to stamp out rounds. Do this by pressing down sharply with the ball of your hand to create a clean cut, do not twist the cutter or your scones will rise twisted.
Place the scones on the baking tray and brush the tops with a little milk.
Bake for 12 minutes until risen and lightly golden brown.
Transfer to a cooling rack and leave until just cool.
Serve with jam, cream and fresh strawberries.
Best eaten on day of baking.
Makes 7 – 8 scones