Friday, July 27, 2007

Tea Party Classics : Scones

There are two ways to pronounce Scone, "Skoan" and "Skon" which ever you fancy. This small cake is a quick bread (meaning it uses no yeast) similar to the American Biscuit. Traditionally they are shaped into triangles and served with preserves, Lemon Curd and Devonshire (clotted) Cream.

The trick to obtaining the light, soft interior of a good scone is all in the mixing and the butter.

I don't ever suggest the use of a mixer, in fact I'm not even that fond of pastry cutters. Your fingertips are all you need, in my opinion. So wash up and get ready to make some scones.

Basic Scone Recipe

Yield 12 scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small chucks
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F
In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Rub the butter into the flour - this is crucial step 1. The butter MUST be cold, use only your fingertips (or a pastry cutter) to literally rub it into the flour. Don't over mix, you want dough to look like coarse crumbs when you are done. The little pebbles of cold butter, coated in flour basically.

At this point you can also add any dried or fresh fruit, nuts, zest or other flavourings you like.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg and milk together.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix ONLY until the dough comes together.
This is the other key, do NOT over mix a scone. If you end up with chewy, doughy scones mix less next time.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, gently, 5-10 times just until the mix becomes a cohesive mass.
Pat or roll out to 3/4 - 1 inch thickness and cut into triangles or cut out with a round cutter.
Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush the tops with the glaze. This egg wash gives the scones a beautiful colour.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown

Lemon Curd
Grated zest of 3 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons
3 eggs
115g (4oz) butter
1 cup sugar

Wash the lemons and grind the rind finely. Place the lemon juice, grated rind, butter and sugar in a heat safe bowl set over a bain marie.
Stir until the butter has melted and sugar dissolves.
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add slowly to the lemon mixture, stirring steadily. Keep this over a bain marie and stir the mix occasionally until it thickens.
Cool and serve with scones

Mock Devonshire Cream
1/2 cup 35% cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp confectioners sugar

Mix together sour cream and vanilla
Whip cream to medium-stiff peeks, sift in sugar, continue to whip to stiff peeks.
Carefully fold in the sour cream mixture
Chill and serve with scones

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