The Perfect SconeOctober 26, 2013
A few tips will help you present the perfect baked accompaniment to your tea – I’ll even give you my favourite recipe.
Did you know that the celebrated scone originates as a “poor man’s” snack?
Yes, in the same vein as bread pudding, French toast and cheese fondue —affordable and easy foods enjoyed by the masses.
It’s hard to imagine this when biting into a fluffy and warm scone with your high tea at the Ritz.
We don’t know exactly when the scone appeared – but according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it was in place at tables by the 1500s, before it was ever associated with tea.
One final word: Don’t worry about the pronunciation – its valid to make it sound like “cone” or “con” – in Great Britain, the sound varies depending where you are in the country.
My Tips for Making Scones
1. You’ll want to make your scones the same day you are going to serve them, preferably coming out of the oven an hour or two before your tea is served.
2. It’s important to use a flour with a high gluten content – sometimes this will be called “strong flour” or even “high gluten flour”. It is this higher gluten content that results in a “fluffy” quality.
3. Once the dough is mixed, it is important to knead it. Simply place it on your floured counter and press away for 3-5 minutes.
4. The size of the scone depends on how thickly you roll out the dough and the size of the cutter. If you want a tall scone, roll it out an 1” to 1.5”.
My Favourite Recipe – given to me by my cousin Caroline!
3 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
4 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ cup butter
¾ cup currents or raisins
1 egg, beaten (remove and save one tbsp.)
1 tbsp. milk
1 cup buttermilk
Stir the dry ingredients together and then cut in the butter. Once the butter is finely mixed, stir in the fruit. In a separate bowl, mix the egg and the buttermilk. Make a “well” in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-buttermilk mixture; stir together. Knead on a floured base for 2 -3 minutes – just until will mixed. Roll out and cut into rounds with a cutter. Mix together the remaining 1 tbsp milk and saved 1 tbsp egg and brush over the scones. Bake at 400 F for 12-18 minutes. Remove from pan and cool.
For a few tips on serving your scones with your tea, see my post, “Help, My Friends Are Coming for Tea”