I recently had a request for the recipe of the scones I make.  It’s been asked for before, so I thought I’d just blog it.  I have to point out, I don’t make up baking recipes of my own, I follow already tried and tested recipes belonging to others.  I figure if it’s good already, I don’t need to change anything lest we get disappointed with the results and no one on the edge of a craving wants to be disappointed.  Having said that, discovering new and improved recipes is usually by tweaking a recipe, but for me if it’s not by accident, I’d rather just get on with it so I get to the eating part a bit faster.

In my tattered recipe note book, I have a page with the title, “The Scone Experiment!” which had all of four recipes to experiment with.  I had chosen Jamie Oliver’s recipe from his Great Britain cookbook, Mary Berry’s recipe from somewhere off the internet, Jane Hornby’s and Delia Smith’s.  In the past I’d also tried Phil Vickery’s which calls for milk powder.  But upon blind tasting, the general consensus was that Delia’s was the best.

The common ingredient that all the recipes had was self-raising flour.  When we were living in Delhi, I wouldn’t buy the imported-from-UK self raising flour because it was in paper bags, you know like Doves brand, which I had bought when we lived in the UK and loved.  But a permeable paper bag of flour having travelled thousands of miles and under dubious conditions to land in India, where it’s typically 40 degrees celsius with no air conditioning and dust in the air the norm, there’s a guarantee of weevil infestation, let alone whatever else infestation.  No.  In the end, like so many other things when you live away from home, you make your own.

I found that self-raising flour in the UK does not contain salt unlike self-rising flour in the US which does.  For the scone recipe I used the UK substitute of store bought self-raising flour, and found this from Nigella’s website to be useful information.  Basically, it’s

  • 150g plain flour + 2 tsp baking powder = self-raising flour (remember to whisk it thoroughly to incorporate everything evenly).

Buttermilk bought in the UK and in Singapore is pretty thick, like whipped yoghurt.  There wasn’t any of it to be had in Delhi, at least not that I could find so I have a substitution for that too in my notebook that I use all the time but I don’t know where I sourced it from.  All you need to do is start the buttermilk before gathering everything else so it has a little time to sour before actually plonking it in with your other ingredients, ten minutes will more than suffice.

  • Take your 1 cup (measuring cup), and put 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice in it.  Top it up with milk, to make 1 cup.  Let sit.  Or,
  • mix up 3/4 cup yoghurt + 1/4 cup milk

Also, all the recipes for scones emphasise not fiddling around too much with the dough or you will not have scones, but stones.  So be gentle, combine everything till it just begins to stick together without giving yourself a heart attack with crumbs falling all over the place.  Then pat to desired thickness, with confidence cut briskly, brush with milk, and bake.  Done in twenty minutes.  Now, go forth with your scone skills!

(I say scones, like tons-ils, my husband says scones, like stones.  How do you say it?  I understand both to be correct..I think?)

Scones

Scones
English Scones
Print Recipe
Cream tea, confusingly, is a set of items consisting of a pot of tea, scones, clotted cream, and jam. Don't order it at eating establishments, saying, "cream tea set", it is by default a 'set', it's like saying, purple colour, the word set (or 'colour') is redundant! Do enjoy your scones with clotted cream and jam and a cup of tea, it's lovely. Like a friend very recently said, "whoever thought of putting a scone with jam and cream is a genius". If you can't find clotted cream, try mascarpone, it comes pretty close. And.. don't eat it like a sandwich........please.....?
Servings Prep Time
8 small scones 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 small scones 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Scones
English Scones
Print Recipe
Cream tea, confusingly, is a set of items consisting of a pot of tea, scones, clotted cream, and jam. Don't order it at eating establishments, saying, "cream tea set", it is by default a 'set', it's like saying, purple colour, the word set (or 'colour') is redundant! Do enjoy your scones with clotted cream and jam and a cup of tea, it's lovely. Like a friend very recently said, "whoever thought of putting a scone with jam and cream is a genius". If you can't find clotted cream, try mascarpone, it comes pretty close. And.. don't eat it like a sandwich........please.....?
Servings Prep Time
8 small scones 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 small scones 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: small scones
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 220 degrees celsius. prepare a baking sheet with greaseproof paper for easier clean up!
  2. In a medium bowl, place the flour, sugar and butter. Cut the butter into the flour using two knives, or rubbing with your finger tips until it resembles bread crumbs. The point is to keep this mixture cool, the butter shouldn't turn to oil.
  3. In a small bowl lightly beat the eggs, and add to it the buttermilk. Mix. Add this to the flour-butter mix.
  4. Bring it together with the two knives till it just begins to stick together, you may have lots of dry crumbs, and you may wonder how you're going to manage. Use your (cool) hands to bring it together just that little bit more to the point where you can pat it down to a disc without going nuts.
  5. Tip the dough onto your floured work surface and pat into a disc about an inch thick. This may seem thin, but it rises in the oven.
  6. I used a two inch round cutter, because I like small scones, but use whatever size you prefer. Delia recommends that you cut downwards swiftly and lift up vertically, don't twist the cutter; apparently this affects the rise and the fluffiness.
  7. Place on your prepared baking sheet with some space between them. Brush the tops with a little milk (use the bowl you used for the buttermilk and eggs, less washing up). Slide onto the middle rack of your hot oven, and wait 10-12 minutes.
  8. Remove when they are golden, cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter, jam, cream while still warm. These don't keep very well, so eat on the day they are baked. Alternatively, you could freeze them raw after you've cut them. Freeze it on a baking sheet in one layer so you can click them off when it's hard and transfer to a freezer container/bag.
Recipe Notes

In Singapore where temperatures feel like 37 degrees some days (they do, it says so on yahoo weather!), use cold butter, don't bother with the term 'room temperature'.  We have to remember 'room temperature' in Europe often means 25 degrees celsius, where butter won't turn to oil and it's the perfect texture, spreadable but firm.  Room temperature in Singapore would mean your butter is nearing oil stage, and in New Delhi in the summer, 45 degrees celsius, it's not butter, it's a puddle.
My point is, when you are doing pastries, your butter often needs to be cool, on the cusp of firm but not rock hard, so take into account how quickly your butter will transform in your ambient temperature and work from there.  'Room temperature' is too subjective.

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