Sunday, 15 August 2010
I like to think of scones as the delicious, and slightly more sophisticated, ancestor of the North American Baking Powder Biscuit. After all the English have been making scones ever since the 16th century and . . . well . . . America was still pretty much a wilderness at that point.
Although they may have a somewhat similar appearance, the two are actually quite different.
Scones are much taller and lighter in texture, and somewhat sweeter. A true scone, in fact, should look a bit craggy! Kind of like an elderly Great Uncle . . .
Scones generally use less fat and the fat used is rarely chilled, meaning that the consistency of the rubbed flour is more crumbly than mealy, quite unlike their biscuit counterpart . . .
Hot from the oven, Scones are one of the most delicious breads invented by mankind. Served split and buttered and spread with cold preserves, there is no finer teatime treat on earth.
I like to think of these tasty Date and Lemon Scones as the ultimate Tea Scone . . . Rich and chock full of lovely bits of date . . . with the merest hint of lemon in their fragrance and just a whisper of it in their flavour . . .
I wanted to serve them with some lemon curd, but didn't have any to hand . . . Greengage Preserves had to do in it's place.
We were not disappointed.
*Date and Lemon Scones*
Makes about 12
Silky soft and rich, these scones are studded with dates and a delightful whisper of lemon.
100ml of double cream
2 large free range eggs
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 TBS freshly grated lemon rind (I always use unwaxed lemons)
245g of plain flour (1 3/4 cups)
2 TBS caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
85g of finely chopped pitted dates (1/2 cup)
Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7. Butter a baking sheet and set aside.
Whisk the cream and eggs together in a small bowl. Remove and reserve 1 TBS of the mixture for later. Whisk iin the lemon juice and the lemon zest.
Sift the flour into a bowl and whisk in the baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir in the dates and add the liquid mixture all at once, stirring only until a soft dough forms.
Tip out onto a floured surface and knead lightly about 8 times. Pat out about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut into rounds with a 2 1/2 inch cutter, giving the cutter a sharp tap in an up and down motion. Do not twist the cutter or you will have lopsided scones. Pat the scraps together and cut out more rounds. Arrange the rounds on the baking sheet leaving about 1/2 inch between them. Brush the tops with the reserved cream mixture, making sure that none drips down the sides.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm with butter and or preserves if desired.