Now, it goes without saying that if I had my way all sweet scones would always be served with (strawberry) jam and clotted cream. You can take the girl out of the West country but you can’t take the West country out of the girl. But for the present I can’t have my own way. Clotted cream is a tricky thing to get hold of in America and even I don’t have the time to make my own that often.
This doesn’t make a bad substitute though. The spread is sweet and creamy and the scones are light and fruity with a lovely subtle lemon tang. Not a bad treat for afternoon tea at all.
If you don’t have any buttermilk then just add a squeeze of lemon juice to normal milk to change its ph a bit. You might also need a little more or a little less liquid to bring the scone mixture together, it really depends on your flour.
makes about 15, depending on the size of your cutter
500g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
10g sugar (plus extra to finish)
zest of one lemon
300ml (ish) buttermilk
Apricot and ginger cream cheese
250g cream cheese (at room temperature)
100g apricot jam
30g crystalised ginger
50g soft dried apricots
Preheat your oven to 200°c and put a large non-stick baking tray in there to heat up. This will help your scones to rise really well.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Lightly rub in the butter so that the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix through the sugar, sultanas and grated lemon zest.
Use the buttermilk to bring the whole lot together to form a nice soft dough. I find it easiest to use a butter knife to do this but by all means get stuck in with your hands.
Gently roll or pat the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and stamp out your rounds. Never twist the cutter when cutting out scones or you’ll end up with wonky scones that don’t rise evenly. Just give the cutter a sharp tap.
Place the scones on the hot baking tray and brush the tops with a little extra buttermilk and then sprinkle them with a little sugar. Bake them for 15-20 minutes until they have risen and are golden brown on the top. Leave them to cool on a wire rack before splitting them in two and spreading them with the flavoured cream cheese.
To make the cream cheese you’ll need to beat together the cheese and jam until they are well blended. Then finely chop the ginger and the apricots and stir them in.