Saturday, 17 October 2009
Is it scon that rhymes with on, or is it scone that rhymes with stone??
Who knows. It sounds mightly delicious no matter which way you say it. If asked what the difference between a scone and a North American baking powder biscuit is, I would have to say first and foremost, it is in the preparation. In a baking powder biscuit the fat is cut into the flour using a pastry blender, or two round bladed knives. In a scone the fat is gently rubbed into the mixture with your fingertips, lifting the mixture high up and dropping it back into the bowl as you rub, in order to help incorporate some air to the mix.
Baking powder biscuits generally use all vegetable fat, and sometimes cream . . . scones usually use all butter, and sometimes butter and cream.
In both instances, it is wise not to overhandle the dough, lest you end up with tough scones or biscuits.
Baking powder biscuits are a bit heavier in texture and more savoury than scones . . . most scones are light and sweet . . . and go just perfectly with a nice hot cuppa and lashings of preserves and clotted cream, whereas baking powder biscuits are at their most perfect when served with hot soups and stews.
When cutting press the cutter straight down onto the scone dough and then lift it straight up without twisting. This gives you nice straight edges and they bake up straight as well. Twisting when you cut means you end up with lopsides scones.
Delicious, no matter how you cut them . . . no pun intended.
A plate of these, split and buttered alongside of a bowl of clotted cream and a jar of strawberry preserves and I am in heaven. This . . . is . . . bliss.
Damn . . . I forgot to buy the clotted cream . . .
No matter . . .
Makes about 14
Making good scones is easy as long as you don't overhandle the dough. Tender and moist, wrap them in a clean tea towel after baking to help to keep them that way. Served warm with lots of butter and preserves, these are wonderfully delicious . . .
8 ounces self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 ounces softened butter
1 ounce caster sugar
2 ounces sultanas
1 large egg
Pre-heat the oven to 220*C/425*F. Line two baking trays with baking parchment and set aside.
Measure the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour mixture with the tips of your fingers, until the mixture closely resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and the sultanas.
Beat the egg together with enough milk to make a total of 150 ml of liquid. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture to make a soft, but not sticky dough. You don't want it to be too dry, or too sticky.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead lightly a few times, then pat out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a 2 inch cutter, then place them onto the prepared baking trays. Brush the tops with a little milk.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and nicely risen. Lift onto a wire rack to cool and then wrap in a clean tea towel to serve. Delicious!