Scones are pretty simple. Flour, raising agent, butter and milk (salt too, if you are a serious baker).On their own they aren’t much. But, with some bright jam and whipped cream … ahhh. Yum. All of a sudden afternoon tea becomes an event. Something ordinary becomes special. Something bland, delicious.
Maybe there is a deeper truth there, about life, relationships. Given a little something extra, even the ordinary can be transformed. Or maybe we are just talking about a simple dough and spread. I give you my favourite scone recipe, from the Commonsense Cookery Book.
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup milk
(they add a touch of salt, I usually don’t, especially if the butter is salted)
1. Preheat the oven to 220-230˚C.
2. Either grease a flat baking tray or line with baking paper.
3. Sift the flour into a medium mixing bowl (add salt here if you choose to).
4. Chop butter into small cubes, it needs to be room temperature or even just a little softer.
5. Add the butter to the flour and rub through till the flour looks like fine breadcrumbs. (Ideally, you pick up some of the flour and butter in your finger tips (not the palm of your hand, this will melt the butter) and roll your thumb along your other fingers, till the mixture is all back in the bowl … then start again).
6. Add the milk gradually, ‘cut’ it into the butter and flour with a butter knife, trying to combine the ingredients without over mixing the dough.
7. Gently shape the dough into either a round of about 3-4cm thick which can be scored into triangles for serving or cut out small rounds with a floured scone cutter or glass.
8. Place the scones on baking tray, if small rounds, place them close together, they help each other rise!
9. Paint with some milk and bake for 8-10 minutes or till golden and hollow when tapped gently.
10. Share some with a friend for afternoon tea with some gently whipped cream and jam.
I did get a little creative with this recipe, using half the dough to make an experimental ‘pastry’.
I rolled the dough into a rectangle and divided this into thirds.
On the middle third I spread some German-styled cream cheese (quark), jam and slices of pear.
The two outer thirds were sliced so I could attempt a braided design that held in the filling.
The result was pretty yummy, if a little unconventional. Heated up, it made a very yummy breakfast!