27 April 2013

Scones I’ve tried a lot of scone recipes. It’s hard to find a good one. Many contain sugar, which I dislike. Some even use lemonade. But, as is often the case, simpler is better.

I like to use a combination of butter and suet, but substituting more butter for the suet also has delicious results. Of course, the suet can also be replaced with any other suitable shortening. I believe lard is traditional, but where I live it’s impossible to find.

A number of variations on this recipe are possible. Salted butter can be used, omitting the extra salt. You can replace all the dry ingredients with three cups (well packed) of self-raising flour, but in that case be sure to use unsalted butter, because self-raising flour contains salt. Instead of combining baking soda and cream and tartar, you can simply use baking powder, although I personally think baking powder imparts an unpleasant taste. To make cheese scones, add a cup of grated cheddar cheese, replace the milk with water, and top with more grated cheese instead of cream.

  • For 8–12 scones:
    450 g all-purpose flour
    1.5 tsp baking soda & 3 tsp cream of tartar or 4.5 tsp baking powder
    A large pinch of salt
    60 g unsalted butter & 60 g suet or 120 g unsalted butter
    Full cream milk

  • Sift together the dry ingredients. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients, until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. I usually let the food processor “rub” the butter in for me.

  • Add half a cup of milk, then more by the teaspoon until the dough just comes together. Don’t work the dough any more than you have to. Form the dough into a slab at least 2cm thick and cut into whatever shapes you prefer: I just do rectangles.

  • Brush a little cream on top of the scones. (You forgot the cream? Use milk.) Bake on a tray, greased or lined with baking paper, in a 225°C oven for 15 minutes or until they’re done.

  • Serve with jam and cream, of course. Try thickening the cream with crème fraîche or mascarpone.