Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Jammin' with British Scones and Clotted Cream!
Fresh from the oven
There is a wonderful British tradition, afternoon tea.
In times gone by, it used to be more of a light meal - a pot of steaming hot tea and tiny sandwiches, cakes and pastries - taken between 3 and 5pm. Nowadays, the more formal afternoon tea is only served on special occasions, in hotels or when friends pop round. Cream teas are more popular, and can be found in every tea shop.
At the weekends, we quite often stop for a mid afternoon cuppa and a biccy, recharging our batteries after slogging in the garden.
It's a treat to have a cream tea - warm scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam - something we normally indulge in when on holiday, or when a pot of Cornish clotted cream finds it's way into my shopping trolley.
The recipe I use for rich scones has been adapted from the Be-Ro cookery book. The traditional method is to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips, but I find that by doing the rubbing in bit with the food processor, your scones are far lighter and more crumbly in texture - you really don't want them to end up too heavy or 'cake like'.
Now, for the controversial part! Jam or cream on top? There is a big difference, ask any cream tea aficionado. We can argue about it until the cows come home, but for me it's got to be jam.
Why? Well, it just tastes better! Try it and see for yourself!
PS. You can use any jam that takes your fancy, it doesn't have to be strawberry. My 14 yr old likes to eat his with a drizzle of caramel on top - kids eh! And if you can't get hold of clotted cream, use the thickest double (heavy) cream you can find.
Oh... and they also taste good cold!
Adapted from Home Recipes with Be-Ro
200g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 pinch salt
50g (2oz) unsalted butter
25g (1oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) currants or sultanas (optional - I left them out)
1 large egg beaten with enough milk to make 125ml (¼ pint) liquid
Heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.
In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt and butter to make fine breadcrumbs. If you don't have a food processor, rub the flour, salt and fat in with your fingertips until fine.
Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar and dried fruit if using.
Add the egg and milk, reserving a little for brushing the tops of the scones. Stir with a flat bladed knife until the mixture comes together.
Knead lightly on a floured surface a couple of times until the mixture is smooth. Be careful not to overwork the dough as this will make the scones tough. Roll out the dough to between ¾ and 1" in thickness.
Cut out rounds using a biscuit (cookie) cutter, any size will do but I like a 2½ inch size cutter. Re-roll the trimmings to use up all the dough.
Place on a baking tray and brush just the tops with the reserved egg and milk.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until well risen and the tops are golden.
Split them in half horizontally and serve warm (or cold) with clotted cream and jam.
Ready for baking
As we are slap bang in the middle of British Food Fortnight, these scones are my entry into this year's blog event being held by Antonia of Food, Glorious Food!
Last year's entry was a Hazelnut Cartwheel, a dessert made with pastry and cake crumbs, a bit unusual and different from anything I've made before.
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