Monday, 15 August 2011

The Secret of Scones.

Oh Hi....I was just about to write a sentence along the line of "I really have been slacking on the scone eating front this summer, I must be a terrible English person", and then I had a quick think and actually, I've had plenty of scone encounters. Phewf, I won't be taken in by the English-ness Police. The Health Police maybe, but not those patrolling the English summer ensuring Pimm's o clock is recognised (done), rain is suffered through (done) and croquet is played (not so much).

I get the impression that people think scones are scary to make, our mother is most definitely one of them, but  these fluffy little chaps really are an easy-peasy, super-quick summer solution to times when you're required to 'bring-a-dish' but only have half an hour. What could be more lovely than turning up at a summer 'do' with a tin of scones, cream and jam (homemade if you want to reach new heights of smug-ness).

The key to achieving the perfect light and airy, tall and towering scone with no hassle is to learn the rules and to follow them. Simple. Even simpler, there's really only one rule...the dough is a party pooper. It doesn't like you to play with it, all it wants is to be warm and cosy in the oven as soon as possible with no pushing and shoving or pressing and squashing.

What that means is 1. Using a food processor is the easiest and most effective way to make the dough, 2. Don't use a rolling pin, just press down lightly with your hands and 3. You're cutter must be sharp so if you haven't got a suitable one use a knife, not a mug.

So there you go, the secret of the perfect scone. And it's simple. And oh so delish. AAAnd justifies the consumption of heart attack inducing amounts of clotted cream.YESSS. With Love and Cake

adapted from Delia's Complete Cookery Guide

A few notes:
  • Delia says the MOST important thing for ensuring your scones rise is to not roll the dough out too thin. No less than 2cm she says, and who am I to argue, it's Delia.
  • I used a knife to cut my scones. If you need to do this too, you can either press the dough out into a circle and cut triangles like you're slicing a cake (which seems to be quite an American thing to do but I'm not keen because it doesn't make for very even cooking) or make a big square and cut littler squares out of it (which is what I did for these chaps).
  • I do pretty much the whole recipe in the food processor, just tipping the dough out for cutting when it's all come together, but I'll write it so you don't have to.
  • On this occasion I'd had jam with breakfast so wanted to get creative and have something a bit different when it came to scones, hence the half jam half lemon curd situation. I decided it was a mistake, of course jam is best.
  • Alwaysalwaysalways scone then cream then jam. Don't listen to anyone who says different. They. Are. Wrong.
Makes about 12
You will need

a greased or lined baking sheet

225g self raising flour
40g soft butter
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
150ml milk

  • Preheat the oven to 220°c.
  • Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter as quickly as possible.
  • Stir through the sugar.
  • Next mix in the milk, a bit at a time, with a metal spoon or knife.
  • Now with floury hands, bring the dough together, without squishing or squashing it too much, and turn it onto a lightly floured surface.
  • With as little pressure as possible, press the dough to a thickness of no less than 2cm and cut out in your chosen fashion. 
  • Make sure the oven is up to temperature before popping the scones in for 10-15 minutes, until golden and risen.
  • Pile high with cream. Leave guilt at the front door.

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