Published in Amherst Citizen - June 13, 2000
Well, I hope some of you took the initiative and made home made jam. As promised, I'm sharing this recipe so now you can also make the scones to go with the jam. I am sure that many of you have either visited England and indulged in cream teas with scones, jam and cream; have read about them or seen them during one of the many English TV shows. Growing up in London, my mother would make these scones by the 100's for the Church Fairs as we just had to have tea and scones in the afternoon. It's quite true, I used to come home from school to a pot of fresh tea every day. We still drink constant cups of Earl Grey made in a proper tea pot not a tea bag in a mug.
These scones are truly heavenly and somewhat similar to the American biscuit. Please make the scones according to the recipe the first time and savor the incredible texture and taste, especially when you top them with home made strawberry or raspberry jam and slightly sweetened whipped cream. It's the butter and cream that give the scones their 'melt in the mouth' taste. Of course, for every day use you can make them with shortening and 1% milk. They will still be excellent as long as you follow the rules:
- Do be gentle with the dough, you are making edible dough not play dough, so handle the dough as little as possible.
- 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.
These quantities have been adjusted slightly from my English recipe to be more user friendly.
Method1. Sift flour and baking powder 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. This is too small a quantity for your food processor, which would make the dough tough.
3. Stir in sugar and salt, then add all but 1-2 tbsps. of the cream. 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.
4. Knead the dough 3-4 times very softly to bring together.
5. Put ball of dough on lightly floured board and gently pat this quantity out to a 7" circle that is just under the height of a penny standing on its side. Do not try to make a bigger circle. It is important to keep dough this thick to ensure scones will rise high enough.
6. Cut out using a 2" cookie cutter by pressing straight down, not twisting, so scones rise evenly. If you don't have cutters, dip a glass in flour and use as a cutter. Otherwise you can cut it into 8 wedges. Place separate pieces on a lightly floured baking sheet.
7. Bake in 425° oven for about 15-20 minutes until scones are well risen, light golden brown and sound hollow underneath when tapped on the base. When split open, they should look fluffy and light, not dense and compressed. Adjust time according to your oven, size of scone and type of baking sheet.
8. Remove from oven, split and serve with jam and whipped cream - no need for added butter.
These scones are also good split the next morning and broiled for breakfast with marmalade. Make cheese scones for breakfast or dinner - omit sugar, add ½ c grated strong Cheddar or Swiss, pinch of cayenne pepper and ½ tsp. dry English mustard (known as Colman's), 1 egg beaten and ½ c milk.
Enjoy this treat - just cut back the calories on another meal! If you want to see this recipe demonstrated, I am planning to present this recipe on WMUR ABC's Channel 9's Cooks' Corner, during the 9 a.m. show on June 12.
Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, is a qualified teacher and offers a Personal Chef and Catering Service. She can be seen frequently on WMUR ABC's Channel 9 Cooks Corner. Contact Oonagh on 424-6412 or visit her web site at Geocities.com/CookingWithOonagh.