Scones can be a divisive food. To start with, there is the pronunciation. I say scone (like gone), you say scone (like bone).
Their composition is quite different, and depending on which side of the pond you’re from, what is familiar is “normal”. British scones tend to be lean and neat with a fine crumb. They’re usually plain or contain a sprinkling of dried fruit such as sultanas or candied peel. They’re mostly eaten in the afternoon. American scones drift to bigger, shaggier, and generally more opulent; they’re made with more fat and sometimes topped with sugar. Often for sale as a breakfast item, they may contain ham and cheese or be made with additional ingredients such as pumpkin.
Then there is the whole “cream scone” debate. A ”cream scone” in Britain usually refers to its serving companion, clotted or Devonshire cream. In North America, scones are frequently made with cream rather than milk or buttermilk; see what I mean about the fat content?.
This recipe is of the British variety. They’re quite plain but deliciously flaky and tender. We love them with clotted or whipped cream and jam as part of a full-blown afternoon tea complete with savouries and sweets, or just on their own for a light repast.
A traditional British scone made with currants.
- 340 g (3 c or 12 oz) self-raising or pastry flour, plus more for dusting
- 37 g (3 tbsp or 1.3 oz) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp (6 g) baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 85 g (6 tbsp or 3 oz) cut into cubes
- 75 g (1/2 c or 2.6 oz) dried currants
- 175 ml (3/4 c or 6 fluid oz) buttermilk at room temperature
- 1 egg
- Heat oven to 400° F or 375° Convection.
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and whisk together. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Add the currants and mix.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients, then add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until combined; it will seem pretty wet at first.
- Flour a work surface and tip the dough onto it. Flour your hands, scatter a bit of flour over the dough and fold it over a few time until it’s a bit smoother; shape it into a circle about 2″ high.
- Dip a 2.5″ round cutter in flour and press it firmly down into the dough, repeating as many times as you can (likely four, possibly five times). Gather the scraps together and repeat until you have eight or nine scones. Place them on a parchment-lined baking tray and brush the tops with the beaten egg.
- Bake until risen and golden on the top (about 10 minutes).
- Serve and enjoy!
- The scones can be eaten warm or cold on the day of baking. Serve with jam and Devonshire cream or with lemon curd.
- They can also be frozen and refreshed in a 350° F oven for a few minutes before serving.
I made this bunch for an afternoon tea with the granddaughters during a recent visit. The sweet course was purchased macarons and petit fours from World Market.
I adore petit fours. When I was a child, my Mum would bring them home from a local patisserie on occasion and we would have them for a special treat. The soft pastel-coloured fondant icing was a source of endless fascination, enrobing the delicate layers of sponge cake, jam and whipped cream beneath. In my affections, they were second only to the pastel-coloured meringue nests which she filled with fruit and topped with whipped cream. I see a trend here…
For the savouries course, we had crustless egg salad with chives sandwiches, cucumber & cream cheese sandwiches and Coronation chicken in phyllo cups. I studiously avoided the dreaded raisin or cranberry in any of the sandwiches. The girls each tried a bit of scone and grudgingly admitted that currants were not quite as bad as raisins. As a vehicle for whipped cream, they were superb!
We used the Black Knight harlequin quatrefoil demitasse cups, which are perfectly sized for little hands.
The girls had cambric tea (black tea with a lot of milk) which they very much enjoyed, much to our surprise. The grown-ups enjoyed a glass of pink champagne as well.
The teapot is actually a Vintage Takito Gilded Moriage Chocolate Pot from the 1930s. I liked the way it picked up the gilding from the inside of the teacups and most of the colours, and the size was in keeping with the demitasses. It was an Etsy find. The plates are Wedgwood Crown Sapphire bread & butter plates from eBay and they sat on Pier 1 gilded edge salad plates (discontinued). It all cobbled together into a fun, eclectic tea set.
It’s so much fun to introduce the granddaughters to the joys of tea. It gives them a chance to dress up, practice their best table manners and be rewarded with a whole lot of sweet stuff. A very happy interlude was celebrated by all.
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.