Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Rich Buttermilk Fruit Scones

The month of May has arrived with a full flourish of summer weather (well it has in the south eastern part of the UK, apologies to those who live elsewhere!). Normally we wouldn't be expecting this amount of hot sunshine until June.
In honour of the promise of more great summer days to come, here is my scone recipe, ideal for eating out in the garden at teatime.
I even found some British strawberries, grown in Kent! These are very early by tradition, so I can only assume they are from protected crops, but they tasted just as good as the seasonal summer ones.
Clotted cream is also essential, I just love its almost toffee-like texture and the crusty bit on top. Yes, I know it's naughty, but as an occasional treat, it's just fine.

Makes approximately 8-10 scones

2-3 tablespoons buttermilk, plus a little extra for brushing
8 oz self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting
pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 oz butter
1½ oz caster sugar
3 oz raisins or sultanas
1 large egg, beaten

To serve:
clotted cream
good quality strawberry jam
fresh strawberries

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7 / 425F / 220C.
Lightly grease a baking tray and lightly dust with flour.

To make the scones, sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl, lightly rub in the butter with your fingertips, into the mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the sugar and raisins or sultanas.

In a jug, beat the egg and 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk together and gradually add this to the dry ingredients, mixing the dough with a fork. When it begins to come together, finish off with your hands – it should be soft but not sticky (if the dough seems too dry, add a little more buttermilk, a teaspoon at a time).

Form the dough into a ball and place it on to a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to at least 1 inch thick – try not to roll it any thinner. To make sure that your scones turn out to be well-risen you should make sure you start out with a thickness of no less than an inch.

Cut out the scones by placing a 2 inch cutter on to the dough and pushing down quickly – whatever you do, you must resist the urge to twist it, as this will compress the dough at the sides and will impede the rising process. Just lift it up and push the dough out. Keep going until you are left with the trimmings, then bring these back together, roll out again and repeat until you can cut out the last scone.

Place the scones on the baking tray and brush them lightly with the buttermilk. Now bake on the top shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they are well risen and golden brown.

Remove them from the tray and place them on a wire rack to cool.

Serve the scones with generous amounts of strawberry jam, clotted cream and top them off with fresh strawberries.


aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Perfect for this glorious weekend! And you're absolutely right - clotted cream is the only thing to have (as well as the jam, obviously...)

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