Homemade scones & jam
I have a pleasant freelance writing job to complete: writing the intro for a cookbook. The author is a renowned home baker – the kind of accomplished cook who whips up a batch of scones on Sunday afternoon without a recipe (or a Google search).
Well, my mother can do that too. So, when I was visiting my parents recently, I suggested she bake some scones so I could share her lovely, straightforward, no-fuss recipe. And we could photograph them on some of her beautiful china outside in the warm sun.
It was lots of fun, cooking and setting up the shoot together. Mum should start her own blog!
My mother’s formula for remembering her recipe is 8-4-2: 8 oz of flour, 4 oz butter and 2 oz of sugar. Add a handful of dried fruit, an egg and a wee bit of milk, that’s it. Couldn’t be more simple or quick. We’ve translated into metric. It isn’t as snappy a mnemonic.
You can omit the sugar if you want something more plain. Personally, I would use spelt flour and rapadura sugar, but I’m sure that would make a much heavier and less flaky scone.
225 g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
115 g butter
55 g sugar
handful of dried fruit
wee bit milk
Heat the oven to 210 degrees. Shake some flour into a baking tray.
Add salt to the flour, then rub in the butter until it ressembles breadcrumbs. Use the tips of your fingers to work the mixture lightly.
Add the sugar and dried fruit.
Whisk the egg lightly. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the egg. Mix in well and add as much milk as you require to produce a soft consistency.
Place on a floured board and pat into a circle about 2 cm thick. Cut with scone cutters. Doesn’t matter if they’re not all perfect. Brush the tops with milk to make them shine.
Cluster the scones tightly together on the baking tray. This helps them to rise uniformly. Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins.
The smell of fresh baking is so divine. And opening a hot scone, spreading it with rapidly melting butter and devouring it is a rare treat. We had a cup of tea with our scones and spread them with butter and jam. No cream as that’s an unnecessary folderol introduced by the English (things are less fancy north of the border).
They were crumbly and cake-y and delectable. And the Royal Worcester tea service and elegant cake stand (a wedding present) certainly added to the sense of occasion.
Scones don’t keep. Part of their charm lies in throwing the ingredients together quickly, then scoffing the shiny-topped gems straight from the oven. This is a good recipe for making with children. And an excellent excuse to dust off your wedding-gift china.