Baking scones has become as much of a habit for me as drinking tea, and when you consider my English background you’ll understand the significance of that statement. Hardly a weekend goes by without me turning out a batch. Eat warm from the oven, spread thickly with salted butter and wash down with a mug of black tea, lovely!
These simple little cakes are easy to bake and quite forgiving. If you follow a few simple
guidelines you really can’t go wrong (see my guide to making scones).
Ingredients for 10 scones:
Takes 20 – 30 minutes
450g (15oz) selfraising flour, plus more for dusting.
1 level teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of salt
90g (3oz) unsalted butter (cold)
90g (3oz) raisins
50g (1.5oz) golden caster sugar
250ml buttermilk (cold)
beaten egg, to glaze
You will also need a large mixing bowl, a 5cm (2 inch) round
pastry cutter and a non-stick baking sheet.
Heat the oven to 190C/374F (fan oven). Take your butter out of the fridge and cut it into small cubes. Then return to the fridge to firm up. In the mean time sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add your salt and baking powder, then mix.
Add the cold butter to the flour mix and, using your hands cover the butter in flour. Now using just your thumbs and fingertips, quickly and firmly rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Lifting your hands above the mix so that it falls from your hands into the bowl: the idea is to get as much air into the mix as you can.
Now add the raisins and sugar and give it a quick mix. Make a well in the centre and add the cold milk. Using a metal cutlery knife, quickly combine the mixture. When it starts to form clumps, use your hands to gather the mixture together into a pliable dough. It should be soft but not sticky and leave the sides of the bowl clean.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using your hands
flatten it out to the thickness of about 2.5 cm or 1 inch.
Taking the floured pastry cutter, cut out the scones – place the cutter on the dough
and give it a firm even push – don’t twist it, just lift it up and ease the dough out.
Lightly brush with beaten egg and arrange your scones side by side on a non-stick baking tray. Bake on the middle shelf in a hot oven for 14 – 16 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack.