I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth but there are certain things that I’ll make an exception for…………an afternoon (or morning) tea treat of freshly baked scones topped with clotted cream and strawberry jam. You’ll be welcome anywhere bearing a basket of these delicious babies – I made them for a ‘Wimbledon Final’ tea treat at my neighbour’s house in the summer and they’ll be making an appearance as we cheer on the riders for the Stage Six Suffolk leg of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain as it passes right outside Pigeon Cottage today. Scones are ridiculously easy to make provided that you follow a couple of simple rules: make sure you preheat the oven so you can bake the scones immediately, and don’t twist the pastry cutter when you cut out scones from the dough or they won’t rise properly.
- 500g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 110g of unsalted butter
- 60g golden caster sugar
- 300ml milk
- To glaze – 1 egg, beaten
- To serve: clotted cream and a jar of your favourite jam
- Preheat the oven to 220°C. Flour a baking sheet.
- Whizz together the flour, butter and salt in a food processor until it looks like fine breadcrumbs or rub it in by hand.
- In a large mixing bowl, make a well with the crumb mix and stir in the milk. Mix with a palette knife until you get a soft, spongy dough. As soon as the rising agent and liquid are mixed, they will begin to activate so you need to proceed quickly – hence why preheating the oven is essential.
- Knead the dough very lightly on a floured board until it’s smooth.
- Roll or press out the dough to about 2.5cm thick and stamp into rounds with a medium (makes 12) or small (makes 24) pastry cutter. You need to cut and simply lift each scone onto the floured baking sheet. If you cut, twist and lift, it prevents them from rising properly. Gather and reform the scraps to make more scones.
- For a glossy crust, brush with beaten egg. Brush with milk for a light gloss or, for a soft top, dust with flour.
- Bake the scones at the top of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes – until they are well risen and golden.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack or serve warm from the oven with clotted cream and your favourite jam.