Scones, how very British. A perfect way to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee by having afternoon tea with your best china tea-set, scones, butter or cream and strawberry jam. Scones origins are widely debated, but in Britain they are mainly to be found in Scotland, and the South-West of England where they are a component of the ‘Cream Tea’. Originally scones, where flat and round, similar to the Scottish griddle scone, which are cut into triangles and it wasn’t until the introduction of baking powder that the modern scone arose.
The proper British pronunciation of the word scone, backed up by the Oxford English Dictionary, is as in ‘con’, not ‘cone’. Our American cousins across the pond should take note, as they have a habit of calling them biscuits, which is all very wrong and confusing. Also if it wasn’t for the correct pronunciation, then this joke wouldn’t work.
Q: What happens to a scone when you have eaten it?
A: It’s scone.
The recipe below is for plain savoury scones, which can be used for jams, butter or cheese, etc, but by simply adding some sugar and raisins you can make fruit scones. I have also added blue cheese crumbles or bacon to the scone mix, which works wonderfully well.
- 8oz (225g) Self Raising Flour (see below)
- 2oz (50g butter or margarine
- 4 fl oz (120ml) milk
- 1 beaten egg or milk to glaze
To make Self Raising Flour
- 8oz (225g) Plain Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 0.5 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
Pre heat the oven to 400F (200C). Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, to introduce air, and then rub in the butter with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Pour in just enough milk to make a soft spongy dough mixing with a fork. Note, it is better for the dough to be slightly soft rather than too dry. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough briefly until it is just smooth. Note, Do not over handle, or the scones will be tough.
Lightly roll the dough until it is roughly just less than an inch (2cm) thick. Use us 2.5″ (6cm) pastry cutter (I used a smaller one) to cut out the scones, be careful not to twist as you pull the cutter from the dough, otherwise the scones will rise in strange twisted shapes. Gather up the trimmings, roll out and cut more scones.
Place the scones onto a greased baking sheet , brush with egg or milk and bake for approx 15mins.
Leave to cool on a wire rack slightly, before splitting them and enjoining with strawberry jam, cream or butter, and tea. Scones freeze very well and can then be heated up quickly in the oven to enjoy at any-time.