So now I have a fridge full of clotted cream and a larder full of jam all I need is a vehicle to get them to my mouth with. Whilst I’m not above simply using a spoon to do this I thought that. just this once, I would stick with tradition and make scones. (Scones, by the way, to rhyme with bones.)
When I was little my mum used to make scones if we ever had any milk which had been neglected and gone sour. Her cheese scones were a gluttonous treat often devoured smothered in butter so it’s probably a good job that we didn’t often let milk go sour!
To accompany my cream and jam though I think plain scones will do the job. As I said, sour milk is the key as the acidity helps to create little carbon dioxide bubbles which will all add to your scones lift. Don’t worry though, I don’t expect you to dice with death by leaving your daily pint out on the doorstep all day. Here on the other side of the pond buttermilk is very easy to find so use that if you can get it, otherwise just squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the milk before you start.
Makes 15ish depending on the size of your cutter
500g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
10g sugar (plus a little extra to finish off)
75g salted butter
300ml of buttermilk/milk soured with lemon
Pre-heat the oven to 200°c. Sift the flour and the raising agents together into a large mixing bowl – this will help to get a little extra air into you scones. Now mix the sugar through. Cut the butter into small pieces and then rub this into the dry mix with your fingertips. Once this starts to resemble bread crumbs you can add the liquid, a little at a time. I find it easiest to use something like a butter knife to mix it with. all flours are different so don’t worry if you don’t need to use quite all the liquid or if you need to add a little bit more.
Once the mix has absorbed all the liquid you should have a nice soft pliable ball of dough. Put this on a lightly floured surface and gently pat it out flat until it is about 1 inch thick. You can use a rolling pin if you prefer but try not to overwork the gluten in the dough or you’ll end up with tough scones.
I’ve always been taught that the trick to getting well risen scones is not to twist the cutter when you stamp them out. So with this in mind place the cutter on the surface of the dough and give it one quick sharp tap down to cut out the scones. Repeat this, re-rolling the dough as needed, until it is all used and place the scones on a greased baking tray. Brush the top of the scones with a little more milk or buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake them for 12-15 minutes (depending on how greedy you’ve been with the size) until they are golden.
Leave to cool on a rack before topping generously with jam and cream. Or cream and jam depending on which side of the River Tamar you’re on.