I recently held a British themed party where I prepared a number of well known British bites. One of them had to be the scone, a classic that appears at any high tea event. There are dozens of recipes on the net, but I settled on this one provided by the Guardian (but minus the cream).
- 225g plain flour
- 3 level teaspoon baking powder
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100ml cold milk
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius
- Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl
- Cut the butter into the flour, and then, using your fingertips to rub in any lumps
- Beat the eggs and combine with the milk in a separate bowl/cup
- Make a well into the flour and pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, cutting the wet ingredients into the dry with the knife until it comes together. Mix it together until it just forms together.
- Turn onto a floured board and then roll it out until it’s about 2cm thick
- Cut round discs and place onto a tray. Brush the top with some milk, or milk combined with egg. Combine any left over dough together, roll out again and then keep cutting until you have nothing left.
- Place into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack or eat immediately with clotted cream and jam
The key to a perfect scone
The whole point of rubbing the butter into the flour is to avoid developing gluten in the scones. The light, crumbly texture of a well made scone is the result of the butter coating each bit of flour, unlike bread (high in gluten) where the flour is attached to eat other. You can alternatively use a food processor to combine it but that might require more cleanup. Similarly, when the wet ingredients are added, we want to avoid mixing it/kneading it too much for the very same reasons.
Some scone recipes call for adding cream + milk instead of cream. I’ve never tried it but apparently it develops a much richer flavour.
You also don’t really want to roll out the dough any less than 2cm as your scone won’t rise and it will be hard cut into half and have anything decent to hold onto. Avoid using out of date baking powder as it makes a big difference to the rise as well.