Afternoon Tea Week (oh yes, apparently it’s a thing) runs from the 14th-20th of August, 2017, here in the UK. There’ll be deals to be had and tiny sandwiches filling up your insta feed and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll spend the week craving warm from the oven scones slathered in butter.
There’s no use debating the jam and cream / cream and jam argument with me. It’s irrelevant. I prefer neither on my scones. Instead, my advice is to hold the jam and cream for a Vicky sponge, because on really good scones a thick slather of quality butter will more than suffice.
This recipe for fruit scones is from a pretty tatty copy of ‘The StMichael Cookbook’ (1980) that I’ve relied on to make light, fluffy scones for just about forever. If you follow my tips below, it won’t let you down.
The recipe calls for sultanas, but we didn’t have any and I usually always use currants anyway – I like the ones that stick out of the top and get slightly caught and go chewy – but we didn’t have currants either. So, instead, I threw in a dried berry mix (strawberry, cranberry, raspberry) that… dare I say it, was even better than currants! When it comes to adding fruit, stick to the weight and use whatever you like.
Scones are easy to bake but there’s a few things you need to know to make sure they turn out light and fluffy and well-risen.
- First of all, rub the fat into the flour by hand and keep going until it resembles fine, dry sand. When you think you’re done, shake the bowl and any clumps of butter will surface and you can rub these in too.
- Secondly, when your dough is ready, it will be wet and sticky. This is good. To handle it, turn it out in one go onto a floured surface and sprinkle a little flour over the top.
- Finally, when it comes to preparing scones for cutting, pat to the desired thickness rather than rolling or handling the dough too much and this will ensure your scones rise.
Light and Fluffy Fruit Scones With Butter
Ingredients – for 8 scones
Self-raising flour, 225g / 8oz
Butter (cold and cubed), 50g / 2oz
Caster sugar, 25g
Dried fruit, 25g
Egg (beaten), 1
Milk, added to the egg to make 125ml
Sift the flour into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour. Stir in the sugar and the dried fruit.
Beat the egg in a measuring jug and add enough milk to make the liquid up to 150ml / 1/4 pint. Bind the flour mixture together with the egg and milk to form a soft dough.
Lightly flour the work surface (use a sheet of baking paper if you have wooden worktops) and toss the dough lightly in the flour. Roll out to 1cm / 1/2 inch in thickness and using a 5cm / 2 inch cutter, cut out eight scones.
Place the scones on a tray lined with a sheet of baking paper. Glaze the scones with beaten egg and sprinkle the sugar on top. Bake near the top of a pre-heated oven at 220°c / 200°C fan assisted for 7-10 mins. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then slice and serve with all the butter!