One of the things I love most over here are Cream Teas, and of course when you think of a cream tea you must think of a scone. That delicious light bun thing that closely resembles the baking powder biscuits (not to be confused with a cookie) from back home in appearance, but is nothing like them at all in taste or texture.
I had my first cream tea when my husband and I were on holiday down in Devon. They brought the tea to our table in a lovely porcelain pot on a tray along with some dainty china cups and a plate full of lovely light scones, and bowls of red berry preserves and lucious clotted cream. I was hooked from first bite. I had never tasted anything so lovely in my life. (You don't have to have regular tea. You can get herbal blends also, which is nice. We don't drink regular tea.)
Scones come in many flavours. There's lovely cheese ones, currant ones, plain ones and I've even seen cherry ones. I prefer the plain ones myself, but then, I am a plain kind of gal!
*The Plain Scone*
Makes 6 to 10, depending on how large you cut them
These are anything but plain. They have a lovely light texture and a delicious buttery flavour. I'd call these the perfect scone!
8 ounces self raising flour (I like to use organic flour)(Scant 2 cups) (about 230g)
1/4 tsp salt
2 ounces lightly salted butter, quite cold and cut into small bits (1/4 cup) (63g)
1 ounce of soft golden brown sugar (2 1/4 TBS)
4 ounces buttermilk (1/2 cup) (115ml)
4 TBS whole milk
extra flour for dusting, or more milk for brushing on the tops
strawberry jam and clotted cream to serve.
Heat the oven to 220*C/425*F. Measure out the flour and then tip it into a bowl along with the salt.
Drop in the bits of butter. Rub it into the flour using the tips of your fingertips. You want a fairly reasonably fine crumb. Lift it up into the air as you rub so that you get lots of air into the mixture.
Add the sugar and stir it in.
Measure the buttermilk in a small beaker and then add the milk. Mix well to slacken it. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and tip in most of the buttermilk mixture, holding some back just in case it's not needed.
Gently work it all together with a fork or a knife, until it forms a soft dough. Add as much of the remaining milk as you think you will need, working in any loose dry bits of the mixture. Try hard not to overwork the dough as this will toughen your scone.
Tip it all out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 3 or 4 times until smooth. Pat the dough gently out to a 1 inch thickness.
Dip a round fluted cutter into some flour and cut the scones out by giving the cutter a sharp tap directly down onto the dough with the palm of your hand. Don't twist the cutter as you lift it or you will end up with lopsided scones.
Place onto a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough, cutting out more scones. Gather the trimmings, pat down lightly and cut more until you have used it all up.
Sift over a light dusting of more flour, or brush lightly with milk, just on the tops. Don't let it run down the sides.
Bake in the heated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until risen and golden brown.
Remove to a wire rack to cool, uncovered if you want crisp tops, covered loosely if you prefer soft.
Serve with strawberry preserves and a generous dollop of clotted cream.