Did you know that it’s International Scone Week?
It’s not surprising if you didn’t, given that Joanna, Heidi and I made it up a couple of years ago. We found ourselves in a flurry of serendipitous scone baking, and had so much fun that we thought it would be lovely to repeat it annually.
So the second week of August became Scone Week, declared to be International since we were all baking and blogging from different continents.
I decided to make yet another attempt at a traditional recipe this year. I haven’t had much luck in the past, and usually end up with clunky hockey pucks (unlike the ever reliable lemonade scone recipe, which never seems to fail).
However, undeterred, I watched a clip from River Cottage and tried again.
They were a great success! Pete declared that they were the best scones I’d ever made – “better than the lemonade ones” – and promptly ate four of them with Pepe Saya butter and his homemade mixed berry jam…
The secret, it seems, is to handle the dough as little as possible once the liquid is added, and to cut them without twisting. The original recipe is on the River Cottage website (unfortunately, the link is now broken) – here’s my amended version…
- 300g (2 cups) plain (AP) flour
- 2 generous teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of fine sea salt
- 75g (5 US tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 50g (¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
- 125g (½ cup) milk (original recipe used cream)
- 1 large free range egg
- a little milk for brushing the tops before baking
1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F) or 180C (360F) with fan. Line a small baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Sieve the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
3. Cut the butter into small cubes and then rub it into the flour with your fingertips. Stir in the sugar.
4. Whisk together the milk and egg, then pour it onto the dry ingredients. Mix together gently with your fingers, then turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and bring it together gently. Don’t overwork it – as my friend Shawna pointed out, it’s better to have a little dough stuck on the counter than flat scones.
5. Lightly roll the dough to a thickness of about 2½ cm (1″). Using a well-floured round cutter, cut the dough into circles, taking care not to twist as you push down (which apparently retards the rise). Lay the scones on the parchment-lined tray and brush the tops with a little milk. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until (hopefully) well-risen and golden brown.
I read somewhere that cooling the hot scones on a wire rack will result in a crisp exterior, whereas wrapping them in a tea towel with soften them.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I’ll be spending a bit of time with our visiting friends this week, but I wanted to get this post up at the beginning of International Scone Week. Misky and Heidi have already started baking!
If you’d like to bake and blog about scones, please feel free to leave a comment here linking back to your post, so that everyone can read it. On Saturday I’ll do a round-up post of everyone’s scones. Happy baking!