K from the UK wrote: Could you please help us with a recipe for scones?
I replied: Here’s a nice recipe from my latest cookbook.
Buttermilk Scones with Jam & Cream
The best scones I ever ate were in Devon on a holiday as a boy with my family. I can still clearly picture the little teahouse, and the warm scones, buttered and slathered with clotted cream so thick that it stood up on its own, a dollop of strawberry jam at its peak.
Making good scones is not difficult, and they get easier with practice. The two golden rules of scone making are these: Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix the dough as briefly and lightly as possible. And remember, the lighter the touch, the lighter the scones. Makes 12 Scones.
1 3/4 cups plain flour,
1 teaspoon sugar,
1 teaspoon salt,
2 teaspoons baking powder,
½ teaspoon baking soda,
5 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter,
3/4 cup buttermilk, approximately,
butter, jam and cream to serve.
Preheat the oven to 230° C / 450° F. Brush a baking tray with butter.
Sift all the dry ingredients together in a bowl (sifting aerates the mix). Rub the butter into the dry mix briefly and lightly, using your fingertips, until fine and crumbly.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and add almost all the buttermilk.
Mix, using a knife in a quick cutting motion while rotating the bowl. The mixture will come together in small pieces. Mix in the rest of the buttermilk if the mix is too dry.
Gather the dough together, and turn it out onto a clean, lightly floured surface.
Knead the dough very lightly, folding it back over itself, pressing down, and turning, for 30 – 40 seconds. The dough should have just lost its stickiness.
Roll or press the dough out to a flat round about 1.5cm (½-inch) thick. Cut out rounds of about 4 cm (1½ inches). Pile the scraps together and press or roll out, but don’t re-knead them.
Use up all the dough. Place the scones on the tray
Bake the scones for 10-12 minutes, or until well-risen and golden on top. Remove from the oven. For soft scones, wrap them while warm in a clean tea towel. For scones with a crisp top, transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
Serve with butter, jam and cream.
Note: The lightest scones are those made with buttermilk, although you can also use milk, or soured milk. Scones made with cream are the richest, with a very smooth taste and texture. The traditional scone can also be varied with the addition of raisins (as in above photo). Scones should be eaten within a few hours, but they can be frozen in a bag for up to three months.