English Sweet SconesPosted: July 1, 2011
My final attempt at English scone perfection. I’ve made many a daring try at re-creating the classic English scone in my NYC kitchen – a near impossible feat. However, on my recent trip to Europe, I thought, what better place to bake the previously un-bakeable but in its origin country: merry ol’ England.
Of course, being in Englad gave me the home-team advantage. While watching an episode of the coveted on-farm-cooking show River Cottage, local-food enthusiast and charming chef Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall just happened to feature the tiny treats. Thankfully, I had my moleskin on hand (What, you don’t take notes during cooking shows too? Oh…) so I feverishly scribbled down every bit of advice the sage had to offer. I was determined to bake scones in the true British fashion, with double cream measured metrically, and with a scale.
Arguably the greatest thing about baking scones in England: clotted cream. True, viscous, buttery clotted cream. Sigh. Scones are not complete without the addition of clotted cream and (preferably) strawberry jam, also known as “cream teas.”
OH, and how could I forget: fresh eggs. The eggs for these scones were from real free-range chickens, clucking around the garden and squawking to the high heavens post-lay. The eggs were large, heavy, and produced a very yellow (and flavorful) omelette.
recipe after the pictures!
300g (2 2/3 cup) all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
75g (5 tbls) unsalted butter (at cool room temperature), cubed
50g ( 1/4 cup) granulated sugar (use up to 100g (1/2 cup) for a sweeter scone)
120ml (1/2 cup) double cream – a must for delicious scones. If you can’t find any, just substitue a little less than 1/2 cup heavy cream.
1 tsp vanilla extract
milk, for glazing
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in with your fingers until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, do this in a food processor before transferring the mixture to a bowl. Mix in the sugar.
3. Beat the egg and cream in a small bowl. Add the vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and bring together lightly with your hands into a dough. The key to great scones is NOT over kneading or mixing! Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead very briefly to form a fairly smooth ball.
4. Pat or gently roll the dough out to a thickness of about 4cm. Use a 6-7cm diameter cutter to stamp out scones from the dough. Put them on the prepared baking sheet, brush the tops with a little milk, and bake for about 15 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes, then serve slightly warm.
Finally, I have to include a picture of my messy bowls just to balance out all these glorified pictures of food. Think of it as reassurance that every cook’s kitchen, even the ones that may appear flawless on the blogosphere, has some element of the chaotic.