‘What’s a Cornish split?’ I hear you ask. Splits are a wonderfully soft, sweetened roll made from an enriched dough, a little bit like an iced bun. It’s also the most traditional way of serving a Cornish cream tea. Yup, that’s right, splits not scones. They’re slightly more dense than something like brioche and make a nice change to serving scones with your afternoon indulgence.
Obviously I’m an advocate for topping them with jam and clotted cream (and yes, in that order, they are Cornish splits after all) but they are equally delicious smothered in chocolate spread or just butter and good jam. (Full disclosure: There is also a chance that I ate the last one stuffed with a scoop of cranachan ice cream – it was really good!)
This recipe only makes six splits because they really are best eaten on the day they’re baked, but you can easily double it up if you want to make more.
1 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
115ml warm milk
40g butter (melted)
200g bread flour
1/4 tsp salt
In a small bowl mix together the yeast, sugar and 25ml of the milk, this will give the yeast a bit of a head start. Combine the flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Mix the melted butter with 50ml of the milk and add this into the flour. Next, mix in the yeast blend and enough of the remaining milk to bring everything together to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. Knead this dough for five minutes or so by hand until it becomes soft and springy.
Wash and dry the mixing bowl so that it is nice and warm and then lightly grease it. Pop the dough in it, cover it and leave it in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
Gently knock back the dough and give it a very brief knead. Divide the dough into six equal pieces and roll each into a nice round ball. Put the rolls onto a lightly greased baking sheet, spaced a little apart (you want them to join up when they have re-risen but not lose they’re shape) and cover them with a piece of oiled cling film. Put it back in its warm place for a further hour. Pre-heat your oven to 220°c.
Once the rolls have risen for a second time uncover them and bake them for 15 minutes. You want them to be a little golden but still have a soft exterior. To keep the crust soft you need to wrap the splits up in a clean tea towel as soon as they come out of the oven and leave them to cool like that.
Splits are best eaten on the day they are baked, preferably smothered in jam and clotted cream.