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How to make scones

publication date: Jan 17, 2009
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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Scones are unbelievably easy once you get the hang of them. The trick is not overmixing the dough once you add the liquid.

Serves 3-4

225g plain flour + 2 level teaspoons of baking powder OR 225g self raising flour + 1 level tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
50g cool, firm butter (not straight from the fridge but cooler than room temperature)
30g unrefined or ordinary caster sugar
1 medium to large egg
A small carton of clotted cream or extra thick double cream
Strawberry, raspberry or cherry jam

You will also need a non-stick or lightly floured baking sheet and a small scone cutter, about 2.5cm wide*

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/Gas 7

Put the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut the butter in small slices into the flour then carry on cutting it with a knife until you have very small pieces. Now get your hands into the flour and rub the butter lightly into the flour with the tips of your fingers (see *1 below) until it becomes coarse and grainy. (This should take about 2-4 minutes depending how skilled you are. You can obviously do this even more easily in a food processor.) Stir in the sugar.

Beat the egg in a measuring jug. add milk up to the 150ml mark and beat again. Make a hollow in the flour mixture and pour in most of the egg mixture, leaving just over a tablespoon. Using a knife mix it in lightly and quickly drawing the mixture together then gently press the dough together. It should be very slightly sticky - add the extra liquid if it seems too dry.

Transfer the dough to a floured board or work surface and pat into a flat cake about 2.5cm deep. Stamp out rounds with a small cutter (about 2.5 cm wide) and lay them on the floured baking tray. You will have to reshape the offcuts to make the last 2 or 3 scones. Brush or lightly rub the tops of the scones with the remaining egg and milk or, if you’ve used that, with a little extra milk and bake for about 10-12 minutes until well risen and browned.

Remove from the oven, cool for 5-10 minutes then eat while still warm. Split the scones, spread the cut side with cream or butter and top with jam.

*1 Rub the butter and flour between your thumbs and the tips of your first and second fingers, raising them from the bowl as you go so that the mixture gets aerated as it falls back into the bowl.

* If you haven’t got a scone cutter just shape the dough into a round and mark it into 8 segments with a knife. Increase the cooking time by 4-5 minutes.

You can add other ingredients such as sultanas or chopped apple to your scones or grated cheese for a savoury scones in which case you can obviously leave out the sugar. About 75g is enough.


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