Method1. Sift/stir flour, baking powder, mustard, salt and cayenne together in an 8c mixing bowl that is preferably wide and shallow.
2. Add butter. Rub butter into flour using your fingertips until mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can put flour mix in processor, add cold, hard butter and run until breadcrumb mix is formed. Remove chopping blade and replace with shredding blade. Shred cheese (if bought in one piece) onto flour/butter mix and then empty mix into mixing bowl and continue with recipe. Don't try making dough in food processor.
3. If made by hand, stir in cheese, then add all but 1-2 tbsps. of the cream with the egg. Stir with a knife to form a SOFT dough not a dry pie crust. Add remaining liquid if mix is too dry, or add the 2 tbsp. flour if mix is too wet. Knead the dough 3-4 times very softly to bring together.
4. Put ball of dough on lightly floured board and gently pat this quantity out to a 7-8" circle. Do not try to make a bigger circle. It is important to keep dough this thick to ensure scones will rise high enough.
5. Cut dough into 6 or 8 wedges. Pieces of cheese make it difficult to cut with a cutter, so just use a knife.
6. Brush tops of dough with milk and dip top of each scone into Parmesan cheese placed in a cereal bowl. This way you don't get cheese all over baking sheet. Place separate pieces about 1" apart on a lightly floured baking sheet.
7. Bake in 425* oven for about 20-24 minutes until scones are well risen, light golden brown and sound hollow underneath when tapped on the base. Parmesan cheese on top will have cooked to a lovely golden brown like the top of a good pizza. When split open, scones should look fluffy and light, not dense and compressed. Adjust time according to your oven, size of scone and type of baking sheet. Black or dark baking sheets will cook base quicker and can overcook. I tend to use my stoneware pizza stone.
Notes1. Do be gentle with the dough, you are making edible dough not play dough, so handle the dough as little as possible.
2. Don't pat or roll out bigger than directed, you'll end up with shoe leather and that's a waste of your time and money.
3. These scones are also good split the next morning and broiled for breakfast, or nuked. They keep a few days in a Ziploc bag.
4. Sprinkle parmesan cheese topping with Italian herbs, poppy seeds, sesame seeds before baking if you want.
Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers Catering services, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner and has her own series on Merrimack TV and on Manchester TV. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.