Yes, we are talking…SCONES!
We have persuaded Ceri Newton from Gorge’us Cakes in Spital to open up her recipe book and spread the baking love here on The Guide Liverpool. Last time it was all about Victoria Sponge you can read Ceri’s famous Vic Sponge recipe here. This time it’s all about a UK favourite…
One of my favourite pastimes is visiting Tearooms and Coffee Houses. Afternoon Tea is my absolute favourite meal.
I love the fact you get little bits of lots of things, I like the cake, obviously, but the highlight for me has to be the scone with jam (raspberry please) and cream , either clotted or whipped double I’m not fussy, but definitely not “squirty”. What is that stuff?
I am filled with anticipation and apprehension because the things that sits atop the Tea Stand and ought to be the star of the show often disappoints beyond words.
A scone needs a good rise, should be fluffy inside but not doughy, it should be baked to a golden hue and if it tells you its a fruit scone you shouldn’t have to search for the fruit.
You would think something of so few ingredients would be simple. But believe me, it took years of tweaking, trying, and failure, to be able to produce a “good” scone. They are tricky little things.
I think the most important thing to remember is that Miss Scone Mix prefers a gentle touch. In fact, the less you handle her, the better she will perform. Introduce the dry ingredients to each other with a gentle touch, getting in our buddy “air” by mixing with your hand or a stand mixer, and the milk will coax them all to stick together and remain good friends.
You need a good amount of flour on your work surface before you empty your mixing bowl of the slightly sticky dough.
Because you spent so much time and effort persuading our buddy “air” to join the party, don’t run for your rolling pin to bash it all out again, because believe me, she won’t come back and your scones will be flat and not very happy. Simply use the palm of your hand to ease the dough out to a thickness of about ¾” and then use your preferred size cutter to cut out them out. Begin from the outside of the dough to get the optimum amount from the mix, you can remix the dough for more scones, but they are never quite as good as the “extra virgin” ones!
Put in your cutter firmly and simply lift out, don’t turn it, she will only get her drawers in a twist and refuse to rise fully if you do!
I have included my own recipe below. I would love you to try it.
BASIC SCONE RECIPE
500g SR Flour
110 Caster Sugar
110g Butter or Margarine
75g Sultanas /Raisins
10 fl Oz Milk (pref Whole)
1 egg beaten
I am giving instructions for a Stand mixer as that is how I make mine, using the kids beater, not the balloon whisk.
Preheat the oven to 200° c
Put the flour and sugar into the bowl, add the butter and switch on. Mix very slowly. In just a minute or two the mixture will resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the fruit. Mix just enough to incorporate, then with the mixer still going, slowly add the milk, increasing the speed as the dough begins to form.
Switch off and remove the dough from the bowl onto a well floured board. I use gloves to handle it because I’m not keen on sticky hands, but you can always flour your hands too.
Pull the dough gently from the edges in onto itself, just a couple of times, being gentle, and not pummelling at it like you would bread.
The dough will begin to look smooth, and that is the time to use the palm of your hand to ease the dough out ready for cutting.
This recipe should yield about 9 fairly large scones.
Put them onto a baking tray, well separated, you need the heat to get all around them, and brush them with the beaten egg.
Place in the top of your oven and bake for about 18 minutes, or until golden. I always check mine are cooked by lifting the scone located in the middle of the tray and checking underneath, if it’s golden it’s done. Be careful though, it’s going to be really hot, use a glove or spatula!
The sky’s the limit really for flavours, here are some of my faves.
Cranberry and orange – replace the raisins with dried cranberries and add the zest of 1 large orange (nice at Christmas)
Lavender – replace the raisins with ¼ cup of dried lavender and sprinkle a little bit on top after you have brushed with egg before baking – delicious with homemade lemon curd and clotted cream.
Rose and Cinnamon – replace the raisins with ¼ cup dried, crushed rose petals and 1 tsp cinnamon – divine with clotted cream and raspberry jam.
Cheese and Walnut – half the amount of sugar, omit the raisins and replace with 4oz grated mature cheese and a good handful of chopped walnuts. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top before baking. These make a nice change from bread with soup.
Dairy Free – And finally, if you replace the butter or Margarine with a dairy free alternative, such as Vitality, use Almond instead of cows milk, and brush the top with the same instead of egg, you have made a Dairy Free scone, that all your Vegan or Lacto- intolerant friends will simply love you for.