Scones

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Preparation info

  • All recipes will make

    8

    scones, more if you make them smaller
    • Difficulty

      Easy

Appears in

Fusion: A Culinary Journey

Fusion

By Peter Gordon

Published 2010

  • About

Scones are a typical New Zealand and Australian café offering, as well as something, historically, that most households used to rustle up for visitors with a moment’s notice. Sadly, this has been on the decline over the past 5-10 years; which is a shame, purely from a stomach-led point of view. In Britain, the home of scones, they’re too often in a bad state. As a child I used to dream about coming to London to have a freshly baked scone served with clotted cream and jam, and a cup of Earl Grey tea. I can tell you, that as someone who always eats a scone when on offer, they are too often from the school of‘sad, dry and mass-produced’, especially when served at cafés in various historic properties all around Britain. For something requiring such little effort there really is no excuse for a bad scone. Nevertheless, my childhood Sundays were marked by someone at home, often my father Bruce, making a batch of scones - flavoured with either Cheddar cheese and cayenne pepper or dried dates.

The basic recipe is the same for all of the following three versions, as are the cooking times. You can cut scones into any shape you want, but make sure you keep them at least 2 cm thick - any thinner and they just look a little sad and don’t rise as well. Don’t overwork the dough, as too much kneading toughens it, so if you’re cutting out rounds just very gently bring the off-cuts together and press them back into one mass - don’t knead the dough at all.

Ingredients

  • 80 g butter
  • 240 g flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • a good pinch of fine salt (more for savoury scones)
  • 180 ml buttermilk (or runny unflavoured yoghurt)

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Using either a food processor or your fingers, rub the butter into the flour to resemble breadcrumbs. Mix in the baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix in the buttermilk and gently knead until it just comes together. Tip onto a lightly floured board, dust with flour and roll, or press with your hands, to give you a slab at least 2 cm thick. Cut out, using a knife or pastry cutters, and transfer onto a baking tray lined with parchment. Bake for 12 minutes. Leave to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before moving to a cake rack to cool, or eat while still oven-warm. Once cooled, they can be stored in an airtight container for a maximum of two days, in which case warm in the oven for 5 minutes to refresh them before serving.

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