Sunday, 22 January 2012
Oh, it is bitter cold outside today. Not a day fit for man nor beast. This is a day for hunkering down in front of the fire with a good book, a lap blanket and a plate full of these tasty scones and a hot chocolate (or tea if that's your pleasure!).
We love them stogged full of fat little crunchy currants and sticky plump raisins . . . with a bit of spice. Mixed spice is our preference, which is a spice mixture sold over here in the shops . . . ground cinnamon, coriander, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and ginger . . . warm spices, homey spices . . . there's a recipe to make your own over there ------->> in my right side bar.
You can of course use whichever fruit combination that floats your boat! Dried cranberries and grated orange zest . . . poppyseeds and lemon zest . . . dried sour cherries and almond extract instead of the vanilla . . . toasted pecans . . . finely chopped candied ginger and chocolate chips . . . chopped dried apricots and white chocolate chips . . .
All lovely . . . all comforting . . . all delicious and just perfect for a day like today . . .
This does make a lot, but they freeze really well, either before or after baking. Just wrap up really well and freeze. When you are ready to bake them, just add a few extra minutes to the baking time before you turn the oven off. Easy peasy . . . lemon squeasy.
If you don't want wedges, feel free to pat the dough out into a rectangle, 1/2 inch thick and cut out with square or round cutters. (sharp tap straight down and up to prevent them from being lopsided.) The important thing is that you don't overhandle the dough.
But most important of all . . . quite simply enjoy.
*Basic Fruited Scones*
These are lovely and light. Stogged full of lovely currants and raisins and a a bit of spice.
298g of plain flour (3 cups)
73g of caster sugar (1/3 cup)
42g of powdered milk (1/4 cup)
3/4 tsp salt
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice (see recipe on sidebar --->)
3 to 4 ounces dried fruit (currants, raisins, apricots, or other dried fruit, 3/4 cup)
2 large free range eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
125ml of buttermilk (1/2 cup)
8 TBS cold butter
1 large free range egg, beaten with 1 tsp water for glazing
coarse sugar or cinnamon sugar for topping (optional but good)
Preheat the oven to 230*C/450*F/ gas mark 8. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Drop in the butter. Cut it in using a pastry lender, or rubbing it in with your finger tips until you have a crumbly mixture with pieces of fat that are the size of baby peas. Stir in the dried fruit. Whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing in with a fork and being careful not to overmix. Gently fold together until everything is evenly moistened.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Divide the dough in half. Place both halves onto the prepared baking tray and pat each half into a 7 inch circle, approximately 1/2 inch thick, leaving at least 4 inches between each round. Cut each round into 8 wedges, separating them only very slightly. Brush the tops with the beaten egg/water combination and sprinkle with some coarse sugar or cinnamon sugar, if using.
Place on the middle rack of your preheated oven. Bake for 7 minutes only. Turn the oven off and allow them to sit in the oven for a further 8 to 10 minutes without opening the oven door. They should be golden brown. Remove from the oven at the end of that time and place on a wire rack to cool slightly before cutting apart and eating. Ideally they should be served immediately or at least within a few hours of baking. You can freshen them up by gently reheating in a warm oven. They also freeze well.
We like them warm with butter, but you can have them with whatever you want. Jam and butter are good as are jam and clotted cream.
Cooking in The Cottage today, some delicious Dill Sauced Poached Chicken.