I dream of cake. I once wrote this on a job application; needless to say I didn’t get it.
But anyway, ever have the most awful day in the kitchen where nothing goes right? I seem to have a lot of them considering I’m meant to be a chef; it’s rather worrying really. Today was one of those days, I was halfway through making a cake and realised I only had half of the ingredients, I stubbed my toe on the oven and now a large chunk is missing, my buttercream icing went lumpy (don’t ask how) and I mildly electrocuted myself with my electric handwhisk. So all in all not a good day. So I decided to make something I couldn’t bugger up. SCONES! Though saying that, they did once go horribly flat because I didn’t have the oven temperature high enough. There’s a lesson for you kids.
Anywho, scones are so versatile; make them as a savoury accompaniment to soup or use it as a topping over cooked fruit for a more interesting pudding. Or even use savoury ones to make a cobbler (more on that at another time, but let’s concentrate on the sweet stuff for now). Even my mum likes these and it’s hard to please her; she always complains that my food is too sweet.
So boring stuff first. There are 5 different cake methods.
- Rubbing in
Scones use the rubbing method because you rub the butter into the flour before doing anything else. The rubbing in method culminates in a dryer end product; rock cakes are another example of this kind of thing.
Recipes always say they make more than they actually do. This recipe is taken from the Leiths Cookery Bible and it makes about 5 or 6 average sized scones.
225g self raising flour
½ tsp of salt (this is necessary as it really brings out the flavours)
55g butter (cool but not cold)
20/30g caster sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
150ml milk (but you won’t necessarily need all of this)
optional: an egg or additional milk to glaze
Firstly pre heat the oven nice and hot to 220OC/GM 7/425OF, although if you have a fan oven then pre heat to 200OC. Prep a baking sheet by sprinkling it with plain flour.
Sift flour and salt together and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs and stir in the sugar. If you were adding something, e.g. raisins, chocolate chips, then you would add them now
Make a deep well in the centre and pour in enough milk to make a soft dough. Add a touch more flour if it’s too sticky.
Knead on a flour surface until just smooth
Using your hands press out the dough until it’s about 2.5cm/1 inch thick. Using a cutter stamp out rounds (but don’t twist the cutter when you pull it out). Reform the dough and stamp out more
Place them carefully on the baking sheet and either brush the tops with beaten egg, milk or sift over some plain flour.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.
Leave to cool or serve hot (this would be my option)
NB. The first batch of scones before you reform the dough will be the most risen. Ones stamped after the dough is reformed will be slightly thinner.
NB2. If you want to make cheesy ones then substitute half the butter with grated cheese and leave out the sugar.
Enjoy slavered with homemade raspberry jam and oodles of clotted cream… I know I did!
Oh, and to make a something called Slump (though in this months BBC Good Food magazine, they call it Scrumble, but my mum’s been using this American recipe for years), boil down 700g of summer berries with 110g caster sugar and 75ml of water, until they soften and the juices get thick. Pour into a heatproof dish and top with dollops of mascarpone (a 250g tub) and then add your scone dough on top of that. You can use the scone recipe above or substitute the caster sugar for demerara or soft brown sugar and melt the butter instead of rubbing it in and add it before the milk. Cook in a preheated 200OC/400OF/GM 6 oven for 25 mins until the scone topping is golden brown and the berry liquid is bubbling.
Allow to cool slightly before serving with vanilla ice cream or custard or whatever else you fancy! Enjoy!
(My teachers would be appalled if they found out that I’d used a sprig of mint as decoration, but it’s my blog so I’ll do as I like. Besides, I think it needed some green in it somewhere.)