Monday, 13 June 2011

Simple Home-baked Scones

 When a few friends came over to visit this weekend, the last thing that I was expecting was for one of my male friends to bring his craving for cream teas all the way over from Hampshire. This is a guy who likes mountain biking and sailing. And fast cars. And shoot-em-up pew-pew-pew computer games. He’s no less macho than your average man and yet he craves little cakes with cups of tea. Not that I’m suggesting anything, of course.

Anyway, a rainy post-mojito Sunday morning dawned and it was clear that no one wanted to leave the warm and dry of our flat in search of tea and cake. Instead, I got out my trusty scone recipe and threw together a batch. They’re so simple to make – preparation takes about 10 minutes or so and they don’t take much longer to bake. Within half an hour, you can be munching on warm scones.

Please don’t bother with the supermarket versions that are available; I’ve always found them to be a tremendous disappointment. Dry, crumbly and tasteless. Homemade scones are amazingly easy and so worthwhile for the flavour alone. Serve with clotted cream and strawberry jam for an authentic feel or go for whipped cream if the divine clotted kind isn't available. Just as lovely with butter, of course, though not quite as decadent. Top with a few British strawberries if you're feeling fancy (or if they were going cheap at the supermarket, like us!)

Sultana Scones
Makes 8 - 10

225g self raising flour
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
Pinch of salt
125ml semi-skimmed milk
50g sultanas

- Preheat oven to 220C
- Sift the flour over the butter in a large mixing bowl. Rub the two ingredients rapidly between your fingers to bring it together, taking care to break down any lumps. The mixture will have an almost sandy texture once you’re done.
- Add the raisins, sugar and salt and stir in with a table knife.
- Pour the milk into the bowl, a little at a time, mixing it in with the knife. The mixture will come together as you add the milk. You might not need to add all of the milk if the pastry is coming together nicely. If it looks a little dry, add a splash more milk.
- Flour a pastry board or (in my case) a clean worktop and roll out with a floured rolling pin. The pastry should be about ¾ inch thick. Cut your desired shapes – I used a floured glass but you can go as wild as you like with your pastry cutters.
- Pop the scones onto a parchment covered baking tray and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve warm with cream or butter and jam.

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