I find baking very cathartic, I slip into my own world, forgetting all the going's on around me. The kind of recipes that I find most rewarding are the ones that turn up really quick results. This recipe falls into that category, not only are they really quick to make but they look and taste beautiful. With every recipe I learn something new, so here are the main points of this learning exercise!!
Flour your cutter, the scones will rise much better than ones cut with an unfloured cutter. I used an unfloured cutter on one of the scones and it didn't rise as much as the others, it just spread out. I have the two scone's pictured (right) the unfloured cutter scone is on the right. Try not to overwork the dough, it will lead to tougher scones. If you are looking for a real treat, sprinkle the top of the scones with white sugar just before you put them into the oven. I can't tell you how nice these are with fresh whipped cream and a large dollop of strawberry jam...heaven!!
Scones provide one of the best vehicles for clotted cream. The buttermilk in these scones not only gives them a slight tang - all the better to enjoy the jam and cream on top - but is also what yields such a melting, tender crumb. Until you have made a batch of scones you won’t have any idea how easy they are to throw together. Frankly, it shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes to make and bake them, from start to finish.
Makes 10 (using an 8cm cutter)
500g Plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp Cream of tartar
2 tsp Caster sugar
50g Unsalted butter, from the fridge
25g Soft vegetable shortening
1 Egg, beaten, for an egg-wash (optional)
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 7. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
Put the flour into a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and sugar. Chop the butter and the vegetable shortening into pieces and drop them into the flour.
Rub the fats into the flour using your fingertips – or just mix any old how – and then pour in the buttermilk, working everything together to form a dough.
Lightly flour your work surface. Pat the dough down into a round-edged oblong about 4cm/1½in thick, then cut out 6cm/2¼in scones with a fluted cutter (I used an 8cm cutter).
Cook for 12 minutes, by which time the scones will be dry on the bottom and have a relatively light feel. Remove them to a wire rack to cool, and serve with clotted cream and jam (or lemon and orange curd).