Cheese & Pancetta Scones with Thyme and Chives

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    8

Appears in

Bake

Bake

By Lorraine Pascale

Published 2017

  • About

If I made a list of my top ten foods, I think scones would be on there: so simple but soft, moreish and the taste of home. I like to use a square cutter, but you can use a round one, and by all means change the thyme for dill, coriander or tarragon if you prefer. The volume of liquid for your dough can depend on temperature and how thirsty your flour is, so you may not need to add all of the milk to the mixture – just add most of it and see how you go.

Ingredients

  • 185 ml buttermilk or 185 ml whole milk with juice from ½ lemon, plus a little extra for glazing
  • 200 g pancetta cubes
  • 360 g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • large pinch of paprika (optional)
  • pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 85 g butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 200 g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 15 g bunch of fresh chives, finely sliced or snipped
  • 1 heaped tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Equipment

  • food processor (optional)
  • 8cm straight-sided or fluted square cutter

Method

Preheat the oven to 220°C (fan 200°C/425°F/gas 7) and lightly dust a large baking sheet with flour. If you’re making your own buttermilk, put the milk and lemon juice in a jug and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.

Fry the pancetta cubes in a small frying pan and over a medium heat until just crisp, then tip them onto some kitchen paper to drain off the excess fat.

Put the flour, baking powder, mustard powder, paprika, if using, and salt into a large bowl with the butter, then pick the mixture up in your hands and rub it together before letting it fall back into the bowl. Repeat this until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also use a food processor to do this.

Stir 150g of the cheese into the butter and flour mixture with the chives, thyme and pancetta and then make a well in the centre of the mixture and add most of the buttermilk. Stir it all together with a round-bladed knife to make a soft, but not sticky dough. You might not need all of the milk, just add most of it and stop when you have a smooth and soft but not sticky dough.

Put your hands in the bowl and bring the mixture together to form a ball. Then using a rolling pin, gently roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is 3cm thick. Using a lightly dusted cutter, stamp out eight scones and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Try not to twist the cutter, otherwise your scones may not have a nice, straight rise. Scrunch up the excess dough, knead very gently until smooth and then re-roll to cut as many scones as possible.

Brush the tops of the scones lightly with milk or buttermilk to glaze and then sprinkle over the remaining 50g of cheese. Place the scones in the oven to cook for 10–12 minutes, or until they are well risen, firm and a nice golden brown with the cheese bubbling on top. Once they are cooked, remove them from the oven and set aside to cool a little before serving with loads of butter.